He’s one of the best players for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He won the NL Gold Glove at catcher this past season, has a penchant for dramatic walk-off home runs, is a fan favorite, and is also regarded as a leader in the Bucco clubhouse.
However, a recent report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (behind a pay wall) suggests that the Pirates are shopping their 31-year-old catcher. It’s not a comprehensive report, simply mentioning that Stallings is among the names available as a backstop this offseason, but it’s a report from a trusted name nonetheless.
Stallings finished this season batting .246 with 8 home runs and 53 RBIs, which is hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it’s his veteran presence, ability to call a great game behind the plate, and sparkly Gold Glove that would have him in demand.
I know this sounds a little bit like same old Pirates gonna Pirate: trading a player the moment they get some national notoriety, but with Pittsburgh targeting 2023 or 2024 to truly compete, that puts Stallings on an alternate timeline, meaning he just may be too old to contribute to the next potential Pittsburgh contender. With Stallings coming off such a good season, and the number of available catchers pretty low, his value may right now be at its highest point on the trade market.
In addition, this past season’s top draft pick Henry Davis plays the same position, and while he’s not yet ready for prime time, it might be a wise move to get what you can for Stallings now, find a short-term fill-in until Davis is ready, with the thought of unleashing him in the 2023 season. Though depending on how Davis looks in Spring Training this offseason, we could see him on the field in 2022, though immediate expectations for him are a return to High-A to start the year.
Regardless, if the Buccos can net a solid return on Stallings, don’t be surprised to see The Cheetah in another uniform next season.
What say you, Bucs Dugout? Wise to move Stallings?