The chances of the Pittsburgh Pirates dealing Mitch Keller appear rather slim before the Major League Baseball trade deadline passes at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
People that I talk to throughout baseball say general manager Ben Cherington is driving a hard bargain. Cherington is certainly justified in putting a high price on Keller as the right-hander is coming off his first All-Star appearance and cannot become a free agent until after the 2025 season.
Keller, for his part, says he wants to spend his entire career with the Pirates. Considering no significant player since Willie Stargell can make that claim, it is a highly aspirational goal.
However, the Pirates and Keller’s representatives touched base prior to the season and a potential long-term contract could be in the offering in the upcoming winter or next year during spring training.
In baseball, though, you never know. If Cherington gets the right offer, he might be willing to part with Keller if the Pirates can get the type of impact talent that would advance their seemingly never-ending youth movement.
So, what would a potential Keller trade look like?
We ran it through the trade simulator at Baseball Trade Values and these were some of the deals it generated. I am NOT saying these trades are going to happen, it’s what the simulator said.
New York Yankees
For Keller, the Pirates would get middle infield prospect Oswald Peraza. Baseball America ranks the 23-year-old as the Yankees’ top prospect and No. 53 in baseball.
In 37 games over two seasons with the Yankees, Peraza has hit .238/.364/.307 with one home run and six stolen bases. He is currently with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and has a .261/.352/.495 slash line with 12 homers and 11 steals in 45 games.
Los Angeles Dodgers
For Keller, the Pirates would receive catching prospect Diego Cartaya. Baseball America ranks the 21-year-old as the Dodgers’ No. 5 prospect and 71st in baseball.
Cartaya has played in 71 games for Double-A Tulsa this year, batting .181/.262/.351 with 13 home runs.
For Keller, the Pirates would get two infield prospects – Triple-A Louisville third baseman/shortstop Noelvi Marte and Low-A Daytona second/shortstop Carlos Jorge. Marte is rated as the Reds’ second-best prospect and 54th in the sport by Baseball America while Jorge is ranked No. 9 in the organization.
Marte, 21, has played in a combined 76 games at three minor-league levels in 2023 and hit .293/.364/.480, belted 10 home runs and stolen 15 bases. The 19-year-old Jorge is batting .290/.392/.474 with nine homers and 29 steals in 82 games.
For Keller, the Pirates would acquire injured right-hander Max Meyer and High-A Beloit shortstop Yiddi Cappe. Baseball America ranks Meyer as the Marlins’ top prospect and No. 77 in baseball while Cappe is No. 5 in the organization.
Meyer has missed the entire season while recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. The 24-year-old was injured last year while pitching against the Pirates at PNC Park in his second career big-league start.
Cappe, 20, has a .229/.263/.334 slash line in 91 games with five home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Toronto Blue Jays
For Keller, the Pirates would get a pair of left-handed pitching prospects in Double-A New Hampshire’s Ricky Tiedemann and Low-A Dunedin’s Kendry Rojas. Baseball America rates Tiedemann as the Blue Jays’ top prospect and ranks Rojas while also listing the former as the 47th-best in the game.
Tiedemann, 20, has made just six starts in the minor leagues this season because of biceps inflammation. Rojas, 20, has a 3-4 record and a 3.65 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) with a 1.28 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 56.2 innings.
Will any of these deals happen? The guess here is no but it’s always fun to ponder potential trades at this time of year.