Potential Trade Options for the Pirates Bullpen

By Jason Shetler

Here are some potential trade options the Pirates could look to acquire should they decide to upgrade the bullpen.

Daniel Hudson: After two separate Tommy John surgeries, Daniel Hudson has now been pitching primarily as a reliever for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hudson this season has posted a 3.32 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 9.1 K/9 in 35 games for the Dbacks. He’ll be under team control for next season as well. 

Jim Johnson: The Atlanta Braves signed Jim Johnson to a one-year deal this past offseason, and he’s pitched very well this year after struggling mightily last season with the Oakland A’s and Detroit Tigers. Johnson is posting a 2.15 ERA along with 1.22 WHIP and a 62% groundball rate in 47 appearances. He is currently the Braves closer following Jason Grilli’s season ending Achilles tendon injury.

Junichi Tazawa: Junichi Tazawa has been a reliable fixture in the Boston Red Sox bullpen the past few seasons, and this year has been no different, as he’s posted a 2.68 ERA, an 0.99 WHIP and K/9 of 9.1 in 41 appearances. The Japanese right-hander doesn’t become a free agent until after next season. 

Neal Cotts: With the possibility of the Pirates bringing in a lefty reliever to replace Antonio Bastardo, Neal Cotts could be an option. Cotts has made 39 appearances this year for the Milwaukee Brewers, posting a 3.46 ERA and a 9.2 K/9. He’ll be a free agent after the season. 

Oliver Perez: Another left-handed trade option for the Pirates to consider is Oliver Perez. The Bucs acquired Perez from the San Diego Padres as part of the Brian Giles deal back in 2003, and a return to Pittsburgh for the 33-year-old southpaw can’t be ruled out. Perez this season has posted a 3.46 ERA and a 10.7 K/9 in 43 appearances. He’s a free agent after this year. 

Shawn Kelley: The Padres acquired Shawn Kelley from the New York Yankees last offseason. The 31-year-old right-hander this year has put up a 3.18 ERA along with a 1.09 WHIP, a 10.3 K/9 and a 2.54 Fielding Independent Pitching in 30 appearances. Kelley will be a free agent after this season. 

Steve Cishek: Steve Cishek entered 2015 in his fourth season as the Miami Marlins closer. Cishek struggled in the first half, in which he posted a 4.65 ERA and lost the closers role. However, his Fielding Independent Pitching of 3.45 indicates his numbers should be better. He also has a .361 BABIP, which should trend in a positive direction. Given those metrics, Cishek could be a good “buy low” option for the Pirates to consider. 

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