As the Pittsburgh Pirates sit a season-high 16 games over .500, you can make the case that they are one big piece away from being legitimate championship contenders.
That piece could be sitting out there for them when the trade deadline comes in July and could come in the form of Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
According to ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield, the Pirates need a hitter like Stanton and have a legitimate shot at acquiring the slugger.
Of course Stanton wouldn’t come cheap and that’s where the problem lies. Schoenfield suggested acquiring Stanton would cost the Bucs right-hander Jameson Taillon, catcher Tony Sanchez and outfielder Gregory Polanco, three of the Pirates’ current Top 10 prospects. Some have even suggested that right-hander Nick Kingham’s name could be thrown in as well.
There are always two schools of thought when considering a big deal such as this.
The common thought among the fans is likely to go for it. That’s an opinion I can’t argue with, especially given the fact the Pirates haven’t been this close to legitimate contention in two decades.
Adding that missing piece, especially someone with the pure power of Stanton is something that Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington might not be able to pass up on doing.
What does Stanton bring to the Pirates? He’s only 23 and has already hit 100 MLB homers. He’s a guy with probably the best raw power in the game and could make the Bucs lineup scary.
I always suggest that if Pedro Alvarez had a legitimate bat hitting behind him, his numbers would be through the roof, but what about Alvarez hitting behind Stanton? That’s a scary good proposition to have, especially with the likes of Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen hitting in front of them.
But also consider this fact. It would be upgrading the one position on the field that needs an upgrade the most. The Bucs have two current holes on their team: shortstop and right field. The Pirates rank 14th in the National League in OPS at shortstop, and dead last in OPS at right field.
Jordy Mercer provides an upgrade over Clint Barmes at short, and Stanton would be without a doubt the answer in right field.
It’s often said in baseball that you acquire prospects to trade them and that’s something the Pirates have a chance to do. An outfield of Marte, McCutchen and Stanton would give the Bucs potentially the best young outfield in the game.
On paper it’s a deal the Pirates simply have to make happen.
But here’s where the other school of thought comes in.