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‘I Had This Circled on My Calendar’ Revisiting the Joe Musgrove Trade

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“This is one I’ve had on the calendar marked for a little while, not in the sense that I have a grudge against these guys or anything, but anytime you leave somewhere and you go back, you have that sense of wanting to show them what they missed out on.”

That is what Joe Musgrove had to say on facing the Pirates and his former teammates on Sunday. Musgrove, as we all know, was traded during the 2021 off-season to the San Diego Padres in exchange for David Bednar, Omar Cruz, Hudson Head, Drake Fellows, and Endy Rodriguez. (Rodriguez was a part of the Mets system).

While we’re on the Joe Musgrove trade, let’s take a look at the five players the Pirates received in the three-team trade and see how they have panned out so far.  

David Bednar  

Since coming to the Pirates, Bednar has found a role in which he is inserted in the game’s most high-leverage situations. In 70.1 innings pitched with the Pirates, Bednar has posted a 2.05 ERA, struck out 91, walked 22, and gave up just 46 hits. Although Bednar isn’t the traditional “closer,” he has separated himself from the bullpen as one of the elite arms. 

Omar Cruz

Offering one of the funkiest deliveries in the minors is the most “MLB ready” out of all the prospects brought back in the Musgrove trade. In the ’21 season, Cruz split time between High-A and Double-A and posted a 3.44 ERA in 99.1 innings pitched. Cruz in ’22 has come out of the bullpen the majority of the time (six appearances, one start) and has a 3.18 ERA in Double-A.

Drake Fellows 

Unfortunately for Fellows, he has been battling back from yet another injury and has yet to see his career take off. Fellows and the Pirates are hoping to get back in action at some point in ’22.  

Hudson Head

Head so far in his Pirates’ tenure has been a strange one. In 434 plate appearances in ’21, Head struck out a crazy amount at 31.6% while at the same time walking 15.7%. Head finished the ’21 season with a .213/.362/.394 slash line with an OPS of .755. Head in ’22 shows the same strikeout problems with a batting average of .245 and an on-base percentage of .369. 

Endy Rodriguez

Last but not least is the very athletic Rodriguez, who plays anything from a catcher, infielder, and outfielder. In 434 plate appearances in ’21, Rodriguez had a .294/.380/.512 slash line, a wOBA of .410, and a wRC+ of 140. Now a part of High-A in ’22, Rodriguez has struggled early in the season, striking out 31.6% of the time with a batting average of .240.

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