Pittsburgh Pirates trade rumors: Josh Bell edition

The Chicago Cubs were in Bradenton, Florida last week scouting Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Josh Bell, who is ranked No. 59 on the MLB’s Top 100 Prospect List.

With the trio of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, the Pirates outfield seems to be set for several years. This is why Bell may be trade bait as the Pirates make their playoff run.

The 6-foot-3 outfielder is batting .333 with nine home runs and 51 RBIs for the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates single-A team. After a blazing month of June, Bell was selected for the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which features teams of top minor-league prospects from U.S. and World teams.

Bell has the potential to be a star in the majors, but the Pirates don’t need another outfielder. There have been talks of moving the slugger to first base, but the organization has yet to try.

Bell is an ideal trade option for an organization like the Cubs who are looking to rebuild. He has drive, is a well-rounded hitter, is a switch hitter that bats well against both righties and lefties, and a solid defensive outfielder.

The Cubs are shopping Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, two players that could give the Pirates offense the extra push it needs. Castro is one of the best shortstops in the game. He is a career .282 hitter, but he can be a hazard in the field.

Much like Pedro Alvarez, Castro can make a dazzling play and then turn around and botch a routine ground ball. Even though he could help Pittsburgh offensively, he could make the left side of the infield a bigger liability than it already is.

Plus Castro has a tendency to be lazy. He is speedy and has potential, but so many times the 24-yeaar-old shortstop acts like he doesn’t care.

Rizzo would be a better addition for the Pirates. The platoon of Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez gets the job done, but neither are the answer Pittsburgh’s long-term first base problem.

The Cubs’ first baseman would be a huge upgrade for the Pirates. He is batting .277 with 20 homers and 49 RBIs. This week he won a spot in the All-Star game thanks to the MLB.com Fan Vote.

Strikeouts kill the Pirates at times and Rizzo has reduced his strikeout percent from 30.1% in his first year with San Diego all the way down to 17.8% this season. He has patient at the plate, which is a reason for the increase in his power.

Rizzo would be the best scenario for the Pirates if they can package a deal with Bell and a couple other prospects. Even if Pittsburgh can’t work out a trade with the Cubs, Bell could be perfect bait for another bullpen arm or something else that could help a push for October.

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  • Dan Meredith

    At the right price the Bucs could have Rizzo, no matter what some of the other “commenters” say! Secondly Pedro will not be in a Bucs uniform after 2015, hopefully not after this years trade deadline! He stinks and no matter where he plays his hitting will not get any better!

  • Tongo

    I would do Bell for both players and throw in a B and a C prospect.

  • Nick Kopke

    Castro was lazy last year every so often. He has been much better this season and plays very hard. I am in Chicago and I have not heard any Rizzo rumors but I have been hearing Castro lately no matter what these guys below say. Do not let their rudeness get you down but you may wanna check more into the Rizzo being shopped thing before you write it lol. Josh Bell is an intriguing prospect!

  • Rik

    Do you go to your journalism classes at WVU? or is it just that bad of a school? You gave no sources and this article is completely wrong. The Cubs are most likely shopping everyone EXCEPT Rizzo and Castro, who are both all-star caliber players and under 25 years old

  • Zach

    You can’t just make up rumors. Rizzo isn’t being shopped around at all, and the Pirates aren’t even the least bit interested in Castro. This is really bad journalism.

  • Matthew

    Good article.
    However, Ike Davis and Gabby Sanchez do not “get the job done”. First base is a very weak spot for the Pirates- so I would like to see Anthony Rizzo become a Pirate. The Cubs can have Josh Bell + 1 or 2 other prospects..

    • Oaklandzoo1010

      Rizzo is 24 and would love to have him, however Bucs will never pay to keep him. Never happen, Would not trade Bell though

  • David

    Here is something the pirate brass should think about. Starting right now i would move Josh Bell to third base and leave him there till he is ready to come up. Then over the winter meetings i would trade Ike Davis and have Pedro Alvarez practice at first base and move him there next year. Doing that you could create a place for Josh Harrison. This would help in two ways you get Josh Harrison into the starting line up everyday and plus you wouldn’t have to put up with Pedro’s throws to first base.
    Once Josh Bell is ready to be called up then you have another right handed power in the lineup and you put him at third base. I would not trade him…..

    • Big B

      I think if the Bucs had any future plans for Pedro, he would have been on first last year. He’s as good as gone, maybe by the trade deadline this year. Especially if Walker ends up with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs. The Bucs current salary structure can’t take extensions for both Walker and Alvarez. And what about Martin? Huntington is still praying that Walker will take a home town discount. But at this point its going to have to be a big one.

  • Ryan

    Rizzo IS NOT being shopped by any means…not sure where that came from. Castro on the other hand is, but is more suited for a team like the Yankees, whom the Cubs have been in talks with about a trade involving Castro since last off season. Pirates won’t be that stupid to trade away a talented player such as bell when he’s a couple years away from being called up. A lot can happen in that time frame to one of their outfielders and it wouldn’t be smart and the Pirates know that. I think this article is just really off base, no pun intended.

  • Mike Ivanusic

    First, the title should be “edition” not addition. Second, you never refer to any sources. According to who? Pure speculation?! better dot those i’s and cross those t’s!

  • jjw

    Your nuts to trade bell. This article is suspect at best.

  • Big B

    Actually, Alvarez has committed only one fielding error this year, the rest are throwing errors. A problem that could have been solved a year ago of they would have just MOVED him to first base! But as anybody around the bucco’s in the know will tell you, Alvarez is not long for Pittsburgh. Unless by some miracle the Pirates ownership raises payroll considerably, they cannot and will not afford Alvarez, Walker, Martin, Liriano, Watson, or Cole. At least half of these guys won’t be pirates by the middle of next year unless they raise payroll to over a hundred million per year. And what of McCutcheon? How long before his agent walks into Huntingtons office and suggests they extend him for say, 200 million over 8 years?
    What to do with Josh Bell? If he’s one of your best, he should be in Pittsburgh.

    • Ryan

      Who’s McCutcheon? On the other hand McCutchen is signed through 2018 so he could demand all he wants but they won’t have to worry about that for a little while.

    • Dan Meredith

      Who cares about Liriano? Walker is a sure thing to stay in his hometown, and Cole isn’t going anywhere for awhile either. Do you even know what you’re talking about???

  • Buffaloes

    He’s also a world-class violinist