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Pirates deal Austin Hedges to Rangers, Rodolfo Castro to Phillies

One was expected, the other... not so much.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hours after trading Rich Hill and Ji Man Choi to the San Diego Padres, Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington pulled off two more deals prior to the MLB Trade Deadline.

One featured a reportedly heated bidding war for catcher Austin Hedges, which was won by the Texas Rangers, first reported by Mark Feinsand.

Hedges was signed to a one-year deal prior to the 2023 season and acted as the main catcher until the promotion of Endy Rodriguez a few weeks ago. With Pittsburgh, he slashed .180/.237/.230 with a .467 OPS. in 65 games. He also hit just one home run and tallied 39 strikeouts compared to 11 walks in 161 at-bats.

Contrary to his underwhelming offensive stats, Hedges was mainly known for his defense. He currently ranks in the 96th percentile in pitch framing, according to Baseball Savant, and he’s tallied eight defensive runs saved.

Don’t forget, though, he also tallied three catcher’s interferences this season.

The Rangers needed catching depth given the injury to Jonah Heim, and with their arsenal of experienced pitchers, Hedges could give them the extra hand by garnering strikes.

Then, the Pirates shockingly traded infielder Rodolfo Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for LHP Bailey Falter prior to the 6 p.m. deadline, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic.

Castro was signed by the Pirates in 2015 and first appeared with them in 2021 and kicked off his career with a bang... or five. Since then, though, he struggled mightily at the major league level, especially against right-handed pitchers.

Against righties in 2023, Castro slashed .173/.271/.190 with a .463 OPS and no home runs across 104 at-bats. He thrived, though, from the right side of the plate, slashing .290/.368/.538 with six home runs, 17 RBI and a .906 OPS.

As if that wasn’t enough to prove his struggled against righties, Castro struck out 42 times against them compared to 20 from the opposite side.

Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Falter is 0-7 with a 5.18 ERA in eight games for the Phillies this season. His best start came April 8 against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing one run and four hits while striking out two over five innings.

Perhaps a change of scenery is what both of these guys need.

Below is a recap of all the Pirates’ trades from this year’s deadline:

Traded: 1B/DH Carlos Santana, LHP Rich Hill, 1B/DH Ji Man Choi, C Austin Hedges, INF Rodolfo Castro

Acquired: INF Jhonny Severino, LHP Jackson Wolf, 1B Alfonso Rivas, Estuar Suero, LHP Bailey Falter, International Pool Space

Retained: OF Andrew McCutchen, OF Connor Joe, RHP Mitch Keller, RHP David Bednar


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