MLB Rumors: Cardinals extension nightmare, Verdugo trade, Pirates get lucky

Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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MLB Rumors, Pirates, Austin Hedges
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 2: Austin Hedges #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on July 2, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. MLB Rumors (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

MLB Rumors: Even the Pittsburgh Pirates get lucky

The Pittsburgh Pirates were once 20-8, don’t forget that. But since then, Ben Cherington has failed to put a winning product on the field, and extended manager Derek Shelton prematurely.

Austin Hedges, one of the Pirates many rental players they signed with the intent of trading come August, is readily available. In fact, he’s one of the worst offensive players on Pittsburgh’s roster. At this point, Hedges would register as a decent backup catcher, as he’s sound defensively at the very least.

Per Jon Heyman, teams have started asking about Hedges. Yes, really.

Now, Hedges could be paired with, say, Rich Hill to improve a potential Pirates return. Pittsburgh is hoarding prospects, as they should, with the hopes of one day becoming a competitive baseball team.

The more important question is whether the Pirates will trade David Bednar or Mitch Keller. Andrew McCutchen is off the table despite being a rental, as he wants to remain in Pittsburgh long-term. His family is there.

Bednar could fetch a decent return and despite being signed long-term, relief pitchers are rather unpredictable. Eventually, Bednar could falter, and the Pirates would rather him play elsewhere when that happens.

Keller is due a contract extension. Starting pitching is tough to find and very valuable. Sure, the Pirates could get a lot for him, but they’d also struggle to replace him. Pittsburgh’s system is short starting pitching, minus the recently-drafted Paul Skenes.