Pirates 2016 Trade Deadline Recap and Analysis

As of 4:00PM Eastern Time yesterday, the craze that the MLB Trade Deadline brings to baseball fans everywhere had ended.

So we thought.

49 minutes after the deadline, Robert Murray of Today’s Knuckle Ball broke the news that Francisco Liriano had been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays; leaving Gerrit Cole as the only starting pitcher on the opening day roster left.

The skeptics were silenced after Jon Heyman confirmed the news.

If you’re like most Pirate fans out there, you were caught off guard and blown away by the final hour before the trade deadline and were left in a cloud of dust with very little knowledge of who is left on the roster.

Winners or losers? Buyers or sellers? The term given to the Pittsburgh Pirates this season will be mixed amongst everyone you talk to.

You just have to believe in Neal Huntington.


Here is everything that you need to know:


Pittsburgh Pirates acquired RHP Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees in exchange for two players (most likely prospects) to be named later. (Will update as the world finds out.)

Analysis: Ivan Nova fits in well with the theme of this year’s starting rotation: he gives up a lot of home runs, and struggles mightily at times. The best fix for that? A fresh start.

Let’s look back to the acquisition of J.A. Happ from last year:

J.A. Happ was 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA when he got traded to the Pirates last year. From then on, he finished 7-2 and tallied a 1.85 ERA. Maybe what didn’t work for Jon Niese, will work for Ivan Nova.

I see Nova as a low-spot in the rotation start, with a lot to work with. If Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage can work out the kinks, it may be a solid trade (depending on the players to be named later). Only time will tell with him.

Notable Stats:

At age 29, Ivan Nova is currently 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA – lower than Locke, Liriano, and Niese – in 21 games this season. His best record to date was in 2011 where he finished 16-4 with the Yankees. Just about 1/5th of the hits Nova gives up have been home runs this year; he has given up 19 home runs in 107 hits. In 97.1 innings pitched, Nova has struck out 75, walked 25, and strikes out just about 7 (6.9) players per 9 innings.


Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Antonio Bastardo for Jon Niese. 

Analysis: Bastardo is back. Jon Niese is gone. Pirates fans go ballistic.

Jon Niese out of a Pirates uniform is what 90% of Pirates Twitter wanted all season, but they didn’t expect Antonio Bastardo to be a Pirate again anytime soon.

This trade makes the Neil Walker trade look even worse, in my opinion:

Essentially, the Pirates traded Neil Walker for Antonio Bastardo at the beginning of the season; a player who was on the Pirates roster just a year ago. Take that as you wish, but that’s not how I expected the Pittsburgh Kid to be sent off. I guess Neal Huntington just had to take what he could get at this point.

Bastardo could add decent bullpen depth after Mark Melancon escaped the Shark Tank on his way to the Nationals.

Notable Stats:

Bastardo has appeared in 41 games without recording a win or a loss this season for the New York Mets. Posting a 4.74 ERA in 43.2 innings pitched, he has struck out 46, walked 21, given up 8 home runs. Last season, Bastardo finished with a 4-1 record in Pittsburgh accompanied by a 2.98 ERA. He gave up only 4 home runs in 66 appearances.


Pittsburgh Pirates traded closer Mark Melancon to the Washington Nationals for reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn.

(Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)

(Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)

Analysis: I get it. Baseball is a business, and Mark Melancon is a stock that needed to be sold.

On paper, Melancon seemed like a guy who would be around Pittsburgh for a long time given his 1.51 era, team-high 51 saves in 2015, and two-All Star appearances. Melancon’s ERA tops Aroldis Chapman’s current ERA which is at 2.06, but when a team is just a few steps away from making a playoff push, a move needs to be made and the Pirates took advantage.

Luckily, the Pirates got, what looks like, a good return.

Felipe Rivero brings a cannon for an arm, scraping the 100mph mark, and an A+ changeup that can easily fool the best hitters the MLB has to offer. He’ll be a great setup man, or closer, filling in for Melancon while working with Tony Watson.

Nationals Prospect Taylor Hearn, who was also sent to the Pirates in the deal, has also been seen scraping the 100mph mark, topping out consistently at 98. Originally drafted in the 22nd round, Hearn will be placed in Single-A West Virginia to begin his stint with the Pirates.


Notable Stats: 

Rivero has only given up 4 home runs in 47 appearances. He has struck out 53 and walked 15 in 29.2 innings pitched with the Washington Nationals. His ERA currently sits at 4.44.

21-year-old Taylor Hearn has recorded a 3.18 ERA in 8 games with the Nationals farm system.


Pittsburgh Pirates trade LHP Francisco Liriano, Reese Mcguire, and Harold Ramirez for RHP Drew Hutchison 


Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Drew Hutchison warms up before the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., Saturday, March 1, 2014. The Orioles won 9-7. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (GENE J. PUSKAR / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Analysis: Now this one I don’t get. Francisco Liriano has been struggling as a Pirate this season, and it has shown. Liriano has posted a 6-11 record alongside a 5.46 ERA and may post a career high in walks; he is currently at 69 midway through the season. It was reported that teams like the Blue Jays and Orioles were looking to deal for Liriano, but no one expected this return. The Pirates essentially dumped the remaining $17 million on Liriano’s contract for a marginal rotation option. Now the Blue Jays are chalk-full of 2013 Buctober heroes in Jason Grilli, Russell Martin, and now Liriano. I just feel like the Pirates should have, and could have, gotten a better return given the two top-10 prospects who were sent to Canada as well. It will be interesting to see what the Pirates do with that freed up money.


Notable Stats: 

25-year-old Drew Hutchison is currently under team control for two more seasons. Last year, Hutchison was 13-5 with Toronto and posted a 5.57 ERA. Hutchison has only 3 games in the majors this year with the majority of his starts (18) coming in triple-A. He is 1-0 in 2016 with a 4.97 ERA. Hutchison has struck out 12, walked 4, and given up 4 home runs in 3 appearances this season. He is averaging 8.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.


Writers note: If you have any more questions, or would like to discuss what I have written above contact me on twitter @fuzznacht or by email: mfass.sports@gmail.com


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