With the MLB trading deadline only four days away, Ben Cherington is working the phones as he listens to and negotiates with teams interested in Pittsburgh Pirates’ players.
One of those players who is certainly being asked about is All-Star closer David Bednar. The Pirates have been fielding calls from contending teams looking to beef up their bullpen.
Bednar, 28, is under club control through the 2026 season, so the Pirates are in no rush to trade their relief ace if the right offer doesn’t come around.
So far this season, the native of Mars, Pennsylvania has recorded a career-high 20 saves to pair with a 3-1 record and a sparkling 1.35 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 49 batters in 40.0 innings pitched.
Bednar has established himself as one of the better relievers in baseball, and contending teams who need bullpen upgrades are sure to have him high on their wish lists.
This time of year, relief pitchers are a hot commodity. You can never have enough bullpen depth in a pennant chase.
There are many suitors who make sense as possible landing spots for David Bednar if the Pirates trade him. These three teams make the most sense if a trade were to happen.
The Diamondbacks are right in the mix of the National League Wild Card race and find themselves four games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the division.
Arizona has a mix of strong veterans such as Ketel Marte and Christian Walker to pair with exciting young players like Corbin Carroll.
While there is a lot of excitement surrounding Arizona currently, their bullpen is a bit of a question mark as the season approaches August.
As a team, Arizona owns a 4.57 ERA which is 24th in the league. For context, the Pirates’ bullpen ERA is 4.24, which is 22nd.
If Arizona is serious about pushing for a playoff spot or even the division crown this year, they will need to add to their bullpen.
With Bednar, they wouldn’t only be improving their chances this season, but for the next three years as well.
The D-backs have some intriguing young assets that could catch the Pirates’ attention such as Brandon Pfaadt, who could immediately step into the rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Speaking of the Dodgers…
They too could look to add to their bullpen in hopes of holding off Arizona and the San Francisco Giants in the N.L. West.
Outside of Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson, the Dodgers’ bullpen has largely been shaky this season. Los Angeles is 19th in the league with a 4.16 bullpen ERA in 2023.
The Dodgers have already been active this month, acquiring Kiké Hernandez and Amed Rosario to help their position player pool.
The next move for the Dodgers could be to shore up their bullpen and working out a trade for Bednar would certainly do that.
Maybe the Pirates like some of the Dodgers’ MLB-ready young arms such as Ryan Pepiot or Emmet Sheehan to help facilitate a deal.
Texas already made a splash pickup for their bullpen at the end of June when they acquired flamethrower Aroldis Chapman from the Kansas City Royals for two players.
Even with Chapman, who has been good for them, the Rangers still should be looking to add more arms to their bullpen.
Despite sitting at first place in the American League West with a record of 60-43, the Rangers’ bullpen has been one of the worst in baseball this season.
Only three teams have a worse ERA from their relivers than the Rangers’ 4.77 mark. Those three teams are the Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals and Oakland A’s — all of whom are in last place in their respective divisions.
Pairing Bednar with Chapman in the back of their bullpen would provide immediate improvement and would give manager Bruce Bochy the ability to play matchups.
The Rangers have a strong farm system which includes some higher-end pitchers. Triple-A outfielder Dustin Harris could also be of interest.
It remains to be seen if the Pirates trade their two-time All-Star closer yet or not. If they do, these three teams could be ones to watch.
All three organizations have interesting young assets who could appeal to Cherington and the Pirates. Plus, all three could definitely use Bednar.
*Note: The Miami Marlins were originally one of the teams mentioned prior to them acquiring RHP David Robertson from the New York Mets late Thursday night.