It was reported today that the Milwaukee Brewers contacted the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s not clear exactly who was discussed, but it’s believed to involve Gerrit Cole and Josh Harrison. Could the two NL Central rivals come together for a deal?
The Milwaukee Brewers are seeking an ace starting pitcher and an upgrade at second base. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in an odd place. They have young assets and a veteran core that’s no longer young. They could flip a few of their vets to get even younger and retool. But they could also choose to go all-in for one last run at a division title. Based on the tone of the conversation, it appears their closer to starting a retool than going for it.
What would a Gerrit Cole deal look like?
We’ve already speculated on a possible deal between the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. After looking at our deal again, the players heading to the Buccos looks a little light. The Brewers would likely have to part with Orlando Arcia or add one of their young outfielders to draw the Pirates interest for Cole.
What about Josh Harrison?
Josh Harrison isn’t a perfect solution to the Milwaukee Brewers second base issue. Harrison will turn 31 before the end of the 2018 season. His current contract ends after 2018, but he has a pair of team option years that could be exercised. The 2019 option is for $10.5 million with a $1 million buyout, while the 2020 option is for $11 million with a $5 million buyout. That’s not a terrible deal for a representative Major League second baseman.
Harrison owns a career .321 OBP, and he’s never stolen more than 19 bases in a season at the Major League level. He’s not an ideal choice to lead off, but he did post a .339 OBP last year. Harrison hits for a high average, but he doesn’t profile as a ground ball hitter. He actually posted a 0.89 GB:FB ratio last year. Based on the amount of balls Harrison hits in the air, he could find a few more homers if he moves from PNC Park to Miller Park next year.
While a trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers might make sense on paper, it’s hard to find deals between division rivals. While the Brewers are looking to add for next year, the Pirates may prefer to deal Harrison and Cole elsewhere. This is a situation that Brewers fans will want to continue to monitor as the Winter Meetings wind down.