These things are always subject to change on the quickest of whims, but I'm not sure I like what the first two trades of this year's run up to the deadline portend for the Pirates. On Monday, the Rangers sent Mike Olt, CJ Edwards, Justin Grimm, and a player-to-be-named to the Cubs for Matt Garza. Yesterday, the Orioles sent Nick Delmonico to the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez.
Garza and Rodriguez are both rental players. Two of the best rental players on the market, to be sure, but rental players no less. It seems to me that both trades brought in quite a haul for the sellers, given that fact. Olt started the year out as a Top-25 prospect and his status has dropped some due to a bad April, but that bad April resulted from vision problems. At this point I think he's got a Pedro Alvarez sort of profile; real power, but real strikeout problems. Edwards is an intriguing prospect, too, as a 47th round pick out of the middle of nowhere that's immediately flashed real potential (you can read more about the deal here). The Rangers need Garza pretty badly and they can afford to make this deal because Adrian Beltre's not going anywhere for a while and because they have good prospect depth, but that doesn't mean it's not a lot to give up for a couple of months of Matt Garza. Delmonico's also a corner infield prospect. He was a sixth round pick out of high school two years ago, but he was supposed to go much higher ($$$). As a pro, he's flashed both power and patience in the low minors, which makes him a pretty intriguing return for a pitcher like K-Rod.
Two trades don't necessarily mean a lot, of course, but given the results of these two trades and the preponderance of teams that are able to convince themselves that they're still in contention, it's starting to look like it might be a pretty serious sellers market at this year's trade deadline. That doesn't mean that the Pirates won't be able to make some kind of trade, of course. Remember that in 2011, the Rangers were running around like crazy people, overpaying for every reliever in sight, and the Pirates were still able to pick up two reasonably priced rentals in Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick.
Still, it's worth paying attention to what's happening and what's available on the market. If the Garza and K-Rod trades are any indication of what the market is going to look like this year, it's possible that the Pirates won't be that busy at all in the next week.