Editorials

Seattle Mariners: 3 Potentially Surprising Trade Candidates

3. Joe Musgrove, RHP Pittsburgh Pirates

Now we get into some more expensive options. Joe Musgrove was fantastic for the Pirates in 2020 (small sample size caveat fully engaged) and has been an underrated pitcher for the previous two seasons as well. He throws plenty of strikes, misses a fair amount of bats (prior to 2020), turns 28-years-old in December, and has two years of club control remaining. So why is he available?

The Pirates are really bad and really cheap. Musgrove is going to make $4 million(ish) in 2021 and while he’s well worth it, that won’t stop the Pirates from not wanting to pay it. Pittsburgh is three or more years away from challenging for anything remotely significant and Musgrove can demand a nice package to help with their rebuild. He’s proven to be a solid #3 starter with a career 3.90 FIP, 8.43 K/9, 2.21 BB/9, a 45% GB rate, and a 13% HR/FB ratio.

The fastball sits 92-93 MPH, the slider is excellent, and the curveball took major steps forward in 2020. Plus, look at this baseball savant page:

Notice the fastball spin rate? Yeah, so did I, along with all the other elite or near-elite things about Musgrove’s 2020 season. Now, he’s likely not going to be a near-ace like he was in 2020, but it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. If Musgrove is available, it won’t be cheap to acquire him and would likely require at least one, Top 10 prospect. He will absolutely cost most of the names mentioned today. But with the upside and high floor, he may very well be worth it.

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