Welcome back to the 29 trades in 29 days series. Every day, I will be taking a look at a new MLB team in an effort to find a trade package that makes sense for the Kansas City Royals to hypothetically pursue. For some ground rules and an example, check out the first installment of the series. Today, let's continue our run with the National League Central as I examine a possible trade involving the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sometimes trading with bad teams is easier because they’ll be willing to give away key players for rock bottom prices as they prepare to tank away the next few years. But in this case, trading with a bad team can be rather difficult because there just isn’t anything of value in terms of veteran players and both the rookies and second-year players are usually off-limits.
The Pirates did have a couple of interesting players last year, but they got dealt at the deadline — the main one being Adam Frazier, who is now with the Padres. The Buccos are also not likely to deal either of their young talents in Ke’Bryan Hayes or Bryan Reynolds. Pitching-wise, the cupboard is pretty bare in Pittsburgh as they didn’t have a starting pitcher with an ERA below five who also started 20-plus games. However, if you dig deep enough, there is an interesting proposition to be had that would allow both Pittsburgh and Kansas City to feel like they're getting a deal.
Pittsburgh Pirates Receive: SP Mike Minor + Cash Considerations
Kansas City Royals Receive: SP Dillon Peters
Minor actually could possess a lot of value to the Pirates, who are in desperate need of a veteran innings-eater that they can count on to get the ball every fifth day. So, despite all the negative things you can say about Minor, the fact that he consistently is available is without a doubt his one redeeming quality. The issue is that Minor has been a streaky up-and-down pitcher his entire career, which wouldn’t be as big of an issue if he wasn’t making $10 million this season. This is where cash considerations step in because they can be any undefined amount of money the Royals can give to the Pirates in terms of salary relief off Minor’s contract.
Peters has played in the major leagues for five years and for three different teams, including the Marlins, Angels and now the Pirates. His career has never quite taken off but with that being said, he did show promise this year for the Pirates as he put together a respectable 3.71 ERA in six starts. The main issue with Peters is that he dealt with a nagging back injury this season that never allowed the Pirates to get a long-term evaluation of the left-hander.
Peters is a pitcher that possesses a four-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, changeup, sinker, and a curveball that, according to Baseball Savant, has an elite spin rate. With his injury history, Peters profiles more as a swingman-type pitcher who can flex around from a fifth starter to a long man out of the bullpen and contribute as a lefty specialist with his ability to force soft contact and keep the ball in the yard. Essentially, he does the job that you’d want someone like Minor to do, but at a much more reasonable rate and with the slight possibility of upside.
While this trade might not pop off the board as the next two in this series will, it does allow the Royals to possibly add some depth to their pitching corps and allow them to move on from Minor a year earlier than expected. For the Pirates, they’ll get an experienced pitcher who is generally one of the more durable starters in the league and someone who can add some much-needed professionalism to a young rotation with the cash sweetener not hurting the deal either.