It’s year four of Ben Cherington’s tenure as General Manager, and are the Pittsburgh Pirates really doing their due diligence by listening to offers for David Bednar or are they putting off improvement longer than they need to?
Let’s start here: Rewind to the trade deadline of 2021, Bryan Reynolds in his third season was slashing .312/.393/.528. The Pirates were listening to offers on him.
Ultimately, they decided to keep and later extend their best player. But it wasn’t always so clear. Without an extension, Reynolds didn’t exactly fit in snugly to the rebuild’s presumed timeline.
They were still a year away from the arrival of Oneil Cruz. Henry Davis, Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo had just been drafted, Endy Rodriguez didn’t have his big prospect break out until the following year, Quinn Priester was years away, Roansy Contreras was the only arm in the upper minors at that point, Jack Suwinski was just entering the system in the Adam Fraizer trade and it wasn’t yet clear if Mitch Keller would figure it all out.
It made sense to listen.
It’s now 2023, and yes, the Pirates are still bad. But Bryan Reynolds, Oneil Cruz, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Henry Davis, Jack Suwinski, Endy Rodriguez, Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, Mitch Keller, Quinn Priester, David Bednar and more are all here.
There’s still plenty of time and talent with Contreras and Luis Ortiz to become members of an MLB staff. Jared Jones with his filthy plus stuff could make his debut down the stretch. Anthony Solometo is coming in 2024. The core pieces of the next potential contender in Pittsburgh are here.
Bednar is heading into his first year of arbitration in 2024 and is an elite, controllable talent at a position of great need for the Pirates moving forward.
For a front office that seemingly has to be dragged kicking and screaming sometimes to making improvements to the MLB roster or even just any kind of change, this is one thing they cannot afford to continue to drag their feet on. They simply have to get better in 2024, and unless the return is one of multiple impact players that will play in MLB in the next year and beyond, you do not improve, and the Major League product will be worse for trading him.
What they need to be doing is supplementing what they already have, re-signing contributing veterans like Andrew McCutchen, trading excess prospect capital for positions of need like the bullpen and first base in the offseason, spending real money on free agents to help you now and trusting your development to replace at least some of that excess capital.
Trading David Bednar for anything less than a massive overpay that's not coming doesn’t represent the short-term progress the Pirates absolutely have to make. So why even listen?
Expectations are higher now, another repeat 90-loss season in 2024 would start to put a lot of people’s jobs within the organization into serious question.
Trading another good, controllable player does nothing but further kick the can down the road.
Do you think the Pirates should trade David Bednar before the 2023 trade deadline?
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