The Pirates probably won’t catch the National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs, who hold a 7.5-game lead over Pittsburgh.
That said, the NL wild card is very much attainable for the Pirates, who are just 1.5 games out of the second and final spot entering Friday’s play.
So how might Pittsburgh improve its roster heading into the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline? Well, pitchers Jon Niese or Jeff Locke could be on the move.
The Pirates rank 10th among the 15 NL teams with a 4.36 ERA. Their starting pitching hasn’t been that great, as evidenced by Pittsburgh’s 4.87 ERA among starters, which ranks 12th in the NL.
Niese and Locke both have ERAs over 5.00, and trading them could help the Pirates address other areas and/or clear rotation space. Tyler Glasnow, the Pirates’ top prospect, is 7-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 113 strikeouts in Triple-A Indianapolis, so the 22-year-old right-hander might be ready to help the big league club.
Pittsburgh has reached the postseason in three consecutive seasons after failing to qualify in the 19 previous campaigns, and it wants to maintain that momentum.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jul 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke (49) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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