The Pittsburgh Pirates currently are in a situation that a lot of teams would like to be in: They have a surplus of reliable and productive outfielders.  

The most well-known outfielder on Pittsburgh’s depth chart is obviously 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen, who has become the face of the franchise in his six-year career.  

Then there is left fielder Starling Marte, who has made a huge impact on the club’s performance through his first three big-league seasons, owning a career .282 batting average and a career-high 56 runs batted in in 2014.  

Marte is poised for a breakout season in 2015, as his numbers have steadily increased season by season. 

The problem (if you can call it that) is in right field, where Travis Snider is currently listed as the Pirates starter on the team’s website.

Snider had the best season of his seven-year career in 2014, batting .264 and blasting 13 home runs in 140 games played for the Pirates.  At the same time, however, the Pirates have an ever-so-promising young player in Gregory Polanco, who may be ready to patrol right field on a daily basis in 2015.  

According to a report from Baseball America, Polanco was rated the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates’ farm system entering the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season.  In 89 games with the Pirates, he hit .235 with seven home runs.  

On paper, an outfield consisting of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco could match up with just about any team in the National League.  So where would that leave Snider?

Of course, the Pirates performed just fine with Snider and Polanco platooning in right field throughout the second half of last season.  At the same time, however, with the Pirates’ needs for other position players and starting pitchers, it may be beneficial for the team to include Snider in a trade package, especially if the organization fails to sign any stellar pitchers during this free-agency period.

As former Pirates starting pitchers Edinson Volquez and Francisco Liriano listen to offers from teams interested around the league in free agency, the Pirates organization ought to be out looking for potential replacements, as there is a very real chance that at least one of those two starters will not return.  

The future pitching staff of the Pirates is shining brighter than ever with hope, as both Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon should make their major league debuts within the next couple of seasons.  Taillon, who missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, may even break through sometime in 2015.  

Still, the Pirates will need to acquire at least one more proven starting pitcher before the regular season starts, as a rotation currently consisting of Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, Jeff Locke and Vance Worley likely will not yield a division-best record.  

The Pirates could go out and trade for a starting pitcher in exchange for a proven veteran such as Snider and perhaps a less proven minor league player.  

One potential move that could make sense for both sides is a trade for Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Snider and, as stated above, a minor league player.  

Latos is coming off an injury-plagued 2014 season in which he pitched in only 16 games for the Reds. However, he has pitched tremendously throughout his career, owning a 3.34 ERA and a 60-45 record in six seasons.  

Given the fact that Latos had elbow problems in 2014, this would be a risky trade for the Pirates, but it could also offer huge rewards.  More importantly, Latos is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season comes to a close, which is a reason for the Reds to consider taking something they can get in exchange for him instead of possibly losing his services in exchange for nothing in free agency next offseason.  

The move would also make sense for the Reds because the team does not exactly have a complete outfield right now, as their starting left fielder currently is Skip Schumaker, who averages about four home runs over a 162-game span.  

Platooning Snider with Schumaker would make a lot more sense for the Reds than it would for the Pirates, who have their future right fielder in Polanco.  So that is a move that certainly has to be considered a possibility for the Pirates.  

The Pirates are in great shape as far as their lineup goes.  Without a quality pitching rotation, however, winning enough games to make it back to the playoffs seems unlikely.  

While there are still months to go in free agency, the possibility does exist that the Pirates may not reel in any solid starting pitchers.  In that case, offering a player like Snider in a trade package for a starter may be the way to go.  


Statistics courtesy of

Read more MLB news on