If you are a team in need of pitching, like the Pittsburgh Pirates, then you have to be looking to make a trade soon.
As it stands right now, some of the worst teams in the league have some the best arms available, so it seems the Pirates' ship has come in, much like it did last year. These all-star arms are not likely to stay around forever, so if the Pirates are going to get underway this year, the time is now.
The last-place Tampa Bay Rays have David Price, the 2012 Cy Young winner, and he has only this year and next before being eligible for free agency. The Rays are obviously going to want to get something, as they work toward rebuilding, so they would definitely be interested in a trade of some sort. The last-place Cubs have Jeff Samardzija, a strong arm with potential, who's only 1-5 despite a 2.54 ERA and 67 Ks. He is closing on free agency too, so the Cubs have to be thinking like the Rays, also. The last-place Phillies, who have some big contracts to fill, told teams over the winter they'd give up Cliff Lee if the deal was right.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review would like to see one of those deals happen, with the Pirates flirting with .500 right now. They are 6.5 games back in the NL Central, trailing the Cardinals and the Brewers. The Pirates could use a catalyst-trade to turn the season around and make a run at the playoffs. Baseball presents a long season, but teams have to be thinking about October, and building a record to get into the postseason every week. The Pirates have the money and the prospects in their farm system to get any of these deals done.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post argues that the Pirates have been rebuilding for years, and the only reason they made the playoffs last year is because of choice trades.
"Those 94-win wild-card Pirates of 2013 were as much about importing Russell Martin, A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon as anything. Yes, let's give credit for drafting someone such as Vic Black, whom Pittsburgh traded to the Mets for Marlon Byrd down the stretch last year," he writes.
Like last year, if the Pirates want to continue in their 'rebuild' success, they need to get a deal done this year too, especially since some of the pieces from last year's squad are gone now.