There is at least one indicator that Mitch Keller and David Bednar are full-fledged members of the rumor mill as Major League Baseball’s trade deadline approaches next Tuesday.
Some sportsbooks have started setting odds on whether either Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher will be traded and where they will end up on Aug. 2, the day after the deadline.
Here are Keller’s odds via BetPennsylvania.com:
Pittsburgh Pirates -125
Philadelphia Phillies +700
Boston Red Sox +700
Miami Marlins +1250
New York Yankees +1250
Despite getting hit hard in his two starts following the All-Star break, Keller would be an attractive starting pitcher option for many contenders. He appeared in his first All-Star Game earlier this month and cannot become a free agent until after the 2025 season.
The Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees are all seeking starting pitching. Thus, any of the three teams makes sense as potential trade partners with the Pirates.
The Marlins are more of a longshot as they like their pitching depth and plan to bring electric rookie Eury Perez back from the minor leagues after giving the 20-year-old some time to rest.
If I were a betting man, I’d take the Pirates here. I really don’t think they are going to trade Keller but instead try to sign him to a contract extension during the offseason or in spring training.
The Pirates have shown a willingness to enter into long-term agreements with their own players in recent years, signing third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes last week and left fielder Bryan Reynolds in August.
However, there is no money to be made by betting on the Pirates. Thus, I’d make a small wager on the Yankees at +1250.
Pirates general manager Ben Cherington and Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman have been able to make deals in the past. The most notable was the Pirates shipping right-hander Jameson Taillon to the Yankees for four prospects prior to the 2021 season.
Perhaps the Pirates and Yankees can make a similar trade involving Keller.
Here are Bednar’s odds via BetPennsylvania.com:
Pittsburgh Pirates +125
Arizona Diamondbacks +600
Baltimore Orioles +700
Toronto Blue Jays +800
Los Angeles Dodgers +1000
Bednar has established himself as one of baseball’s best relievers during his three seasons with the Pirates. He has been selected to the last two All-Star Games and would be a big addition to the bullpen of any contender.
Furthermore, Bednar does not become eligible for free agency until following the 2026 season. Any team trading for him would have Bednar under contract for three more seasons.
The Orioles are probably out of the bidding as they have the outstanding tandem of Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano at the back of their bullpen. The Diamondbacks are highly unlikely to give up the prospect haul needed to land Bednar.
However, the Blue Jays and Dodgers certainly are players in the Bednar market. Both need multiple bullpen arms.
Like Keller, I don’t necessarily see the Pirates moving Bednar. He is a local guy and a fan favorite. Yet, I do think Bednar is more likely to be traded than Keller because relief pitchers are easy to find than starters.
That’s why I’d take a shot on the Dodgers at +1000. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has the need and prospect capital to make an enticing offer and Bednar could help Los Angeles bolster its lead in the National League West.