While I was loosely scrolling Twitter last night, I noticed “Pirates” under my trending tab. After sorting through a litany of non-baseball related posts, I stumbled upon a tweet from Post-Gazette writer Jason Mackey, which touched on the possibility of a blossoming deal between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees — one that involved first baseman Josh Bell and newly returned starting pitcher Jameson Taillon.
Since that tweet was posted, several outlets have gotten ahold of it and have outlined the aspects of a potential deal. This has gotten Pirates’ fans intrigued by the outcome. Although Bell is coming off a down year, and Taillon is returning from injury, the return could potentially be large. If it isn’t, I wouldn’t expect general manager Ben Cherington to pull the trigger. After all, Bell and Taillon are two pieces that, though likely candidates to be moved at some point, could contribute and attempt to raise their value before next year’s trade deadline.
If these rumors have truth to them, neither party will feel as though they’re desperate to get a deal done. The Pirates understand that by allowing this opportunity to go by the wayside, they have the potential to get more when contending teams are pressed for talent come the midway point of 2021. As for the Yankees, they have other options available to them.
With all that said, the more sentimental fact still lingers: In a short amount of time, fans might be in another situation where they’re forced to say goodbye to players who’ve become likable additions to Pirates’ history: Bell, the apparent leader of the team, both on and off the field; and Taillon, who’s been marred by injury and misfortune and is an easy story to root for — not to mention his coffee chats with members of the organization on Twitter.
As is always the case, fans expect this train to come down the line at some point. Over in Chicago, for example, the Cubs are grappling with the inexorable march which will ultimately lead to the departure of Kris Bryant, certainly, but in all likelihood, Anthony Rizzo, as well. The difference is this, however: The Cubs got what they wanted out of those players, a World Series title — the Pirates haven’t. Of course, there’s no real holdovers from that era of Pirates’ baseball — save for Bob Nutting — where blame could be spread, so it isn’t useful to do so.
But as we move forward, a new-look Pirates club is what we should expect. And while Taillon and Bell will ultimately be moved — it would be a mistake not to move them — it’s more likely that we need to look elsewhere for first departures. Although Taillon and Bell have made their way into the conversation over the last couple days, it’s still more likely that Adam Frazier and Joe Musgrove will be moved first. Regardless of who gets moved first, Pittsburgh is rife with opportunity for a newer and younger player to make a statement and endear himself to the fanbase.