Since taking over as the Pirates general manager in the fall of 2019, Ben Cherington has executed a number of trades with most being part of a rebuilding effort. Two of the most notable trades executed by Cherington have been with the San Diego Padres. Prior to the 2021 season, Cherington sent Joe Musgrove to his hometown of San Diego, followed by the trade of Adam Frazier to the Padres prior to last year’s trade deadline.
The Musgrove trade was a three-team deal that also included the New York Mets. In total, the Pirates received five players: David Bednar, Hudson Head, Omar Cruz, Drake Fellows and Endy Rodriguez.
Musgrove has been excellent for the Padres since putting on the team’s uniform. In his two seasons in San Diego, the 29-year-old has compiled a 16-9 record with a 2.89 ERA/3.50 FIP and 254 strikeouts in 233.1 innings. He pitched the first no-hitter in team history last season against the Rangers. A free agent at the end of the year, Musgrove is likely headed for a big payday in free agency.
On the Pirates side of things, Bednar is the only one of the five who has reached the big leagues. He’s been terrific in the back end of the Pirates bullpen and could be headed for his first All-Star appearance this year. In his time pitching for the team, he grew up cheering for, the Mars-native has a minuscule 1.83 ERA/2.55 FIP with 107 punch outs and 11 saves in 80 games.
Rodriguez is the most highly regarded prospect of the return. A natural catcher, Rodriguez has the athleticism to play in the outfield as well as the right side of the infield. After posting a 140 wRC+ last season, Rodriguez is hitting .267 with a .813 OPS and five homers in 35 games with High-A Greensboro this year.
Head has followed up his 113 wRC+ season last year with a 119 wRC+ so far this year. He is a high on-base, high strikeout outfielder who is a plus-runner and an above average defender.
Cruz, 23, had a strong season last year with Altoona, but has gotten off to a rough start to his 2022 campaign with the Curve. He’s currently sitting at a 5.03 ERA/5.03 FIP but has seen a big uptick in his strikeouts. Fellows pitched briefly last year in the low levels of the minors but suffered an injury and has yet to return to the mound.
After the trade last July, Frazier struggled with the Padres, finishing with a .662 OPS in 57 games after the trade. San Diego has since shipped Frazier to Seattle for a pair of pitchers. With the Mariners, Frazier is having a solid year at the plate, currently sitting at a 106 wRC+.
The Pirates trade of Frazier to San Diego netted them three players: Jack Suwinski, Tucupita Marcano and Michell Miliano.
Suwinski, of course, has spent a good portion of the year at the Major League level. He’s only batting .188 but does lead National League rookie with five home runs, while providing solid defense (2 defensive runs saved).
Marcano is reportedly being recalled by the Pirates to join them on their West Coast road trip. The 22-year-old saw action in one game with the Pirates earlier this season and recorded a double for his first Pirates hit. With Double-A Altoona, Marcano is hitting .312 with an OPS north of .900, good for a 149 wRC+.
Miliano has spent the year in High-A Greensboro and has a 5.40 ERA in 11.2 innings. He’s recorded a lot of strikeouts with 15, but has also issued a ton of walks with 13.