Pittsburgh Pirates Wake Up Call: While You Were Sleeping

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In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.

Today is the MLB Trade Deadline, but the Pittsburgh Pirates already made a fairly significant move as the team has acquired Keone Kela from the Texas Rangers for Taylor Hearn and a Player to be named later. Kela has a 3.44ERA/2.97FIP with 24 saves in 36.2 innings pitched for the Rangers. 

Kela is a player the Pirates targeted early and is exactly the kind of player the team should have traded for. Kela not only improves the 2018 club, but will be a key member of the bullpen for the next few seasons. He is a controllable and super talented arm, which makes the Pirates’ bullpen a dangerous weapon. 

There is often a lot of well-deserved cynicism when it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but I wager this trade will make a lot of people very happy. The team played itself back into contention and needed to be buyers to show they are serious about attempting to win the rest of the season. 

This trade definitely weaponizes the bullpen and by proxy, helps the starting rotation. With the addition of Kela, the Pirates essentially turn each game into a five-inning affair. If this bullpen has a lead going into the sixth inning, they should be able to hold onto it most nights. That was a key part of the team’s success during their playoff seasons of 2013-2015. 

There is still a lot of time between now and the end of the Trade Deadline, so this may not be the final deal of the day for the Pirates. They have been linked to a few starting pitchers and I would not be surprised if they add a starter to improve the rotation depth for the rest of the season. I imagine the team will attempt to add a controllable starting pitcher that improves the team this year and the next few years. 

Rentals are usually the headline grabbing trades, but it is difficult to find fault in Neal Huntington’s strategy so far. The Pirates are buyers, but given their place in the standings, it wouldn’t make sense to go all-in on a short term rental. You can improve the team this year without hurting the future. 

It’s still early in the day, but the Pirates have already upgraded their ball club and I am confident the team will continue to explore avenues that better their playoff chances. They may not make any sexy, franchise altering deals, but that wouldn’t be their style. I expect that by the time the deadline passes, you will see the team make a trade for a starting pitcher. Either way, it’s good to see Neal Huntington being aggressive and making deals that give this team a better chance to win now and in the future. 

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