The Major League Baseball trading deadline is only two days away.
Teams have until August 2 at 6 p.m. to fine tune their rosters for a push to the playoffs or retool their organization for 2023.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be one of the sellers keeping the stove hot at the deadline, possessing one of the market’s top starting pitchers.
General Manager Ben Cherington has already traded away designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach and catcher Michael Perez in separate deals with the New York Mets, but he likely isn’t done altering the Major League roster.
Here are four players to keep an eye on throughout the day on Tuesday.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Quintana has been a solid staple in the Pirates rotation after signing a one-year contract in the off-season. The 33-year-old left hander has been the type of pitcher the Bucs were trying to trade for in 2017 both before the season and at the deadline.
Following stints in the bullpen with the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants, Quintana has bounced back in the starting rotation. He has a 3.50 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 20 starts spanning 103 innings, walking 30 and striking out 89.
Quintana is not an overpowering pitcher, but he has redefined his approach in order to record outs. In what seems to be a slim market for starting pitching, Quintana could bring back a decent return to the Pirates from a contending team in need of a veteran starter and mentor for their rotation.
If the Pirates can get anything for Stratton, he should be traded. Once a reliable piece in the late innings, posting a 3.63 ERA in 68 appearances last year, Stratton has fared far worse in 2022.
The right-hander has allowed 23 runs on 50 hits in 40.2 innings, recording a 1.55 WHIP and 5.09 ERA. Stratton has come up short in numerous leverage positions and has lost opportunities as the season moves along. A team desperate for bullpen help might take a flier on the 31-year-old to regain his form from the previous three seasons when Stratton was a solid piece in the Pirates ‘pen.
Ben Gamel could help any contending team both offensively and defensively. The 30-year-old lefty outfield bat returned to the Pirates over the winter to regain playing time in left field. In 67 games, missing time with a strained hamstring, Gamel has collected a .233 average and .685 OPS in 210 at-bats with four home runs and 23 RBI.
Those numbers will not blow anyone away in any sense, but his defense should not go unnoticed. Gamel covers ground quickly in left and made nearly an identical catch at Wrigley Field as he did earlier in the season.
Despite his streaky success at the plate, Gamel could flourish on a contender as a fourth outfielder and defensive replacement.
Kevin Newman is heating up. Since returning from a groin/hamstring injury that sidelined him in late April, Newman is hitting .294 in July with an on-base of .342.
Still under contract for two more years of arbitration, the Pirates could hold on to Newman. His defense remains solid, being named a Gold Glove finalist in 2021. Oneil Cruz is the future at shortstop if he takes advantage of the opportunity presented to him. Newman slots in at second base with question marks at the position for the short-term future.
The Pirates do not have top-of-the-market talent to offer to the league’s biggest contenders but a solid group of role players who could bring back young pieces in need of a chance of scenery or opportunity to define themselves in the majors.