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Analysis: How other NL trades could impact Pirates

Tim Benz
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Cole Hamels, who was traded to the Cubs, is 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA.

We’ve taken a lot of time to analyze the Pirates’ trades for Chris Archer and Keone Kela. But we should also take a look at some of the trades other National League contenders made.

Here are five acquisitions nabbed by other clubs who could have a direct impact on the playoff chances for the Bucs.

•••

Cole Hamels to the Cubs

We know this one is going to impact the Pirates because, well, he pitches against them Wednesday at PNC Park.

Also, the Cubs start play Wednesday six games in front of the Pirates in the NL Central.

If Hamels is close to as good with Chicago as he was when Texas got him from Philadelphia in 2015, they will be thrilled.

The last time he switched teams, the lefty went 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in Arlington. He also started two playoff games with the Rangers that year and posted a 2.70 ERA.

In 2016, Hamels went 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA in the regular season. This year, at age 34, Hamels is only 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA.

•••

Kevin Gausman to the Braves

Atlanta is in fourth place in the wild-card race. The Braves are 2.5 games in front of the Pirates and have the same win total (56).

Atlanta also landed Adam Duvall, Jonny Venters, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach. But Gausman is the guy to watch.

That’s for reasons beyond just how he will potentially help the Braves. He was also believed to be the other pitcher the Pirates were looking to acquire at the trade deadline besides Archer. Maybe he could’ve come to the Pirates at a cost less than that of the team giving up Austin Meadows.

Gausman’s numbers weren’t great in Baltimore. He was 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA. But then again, Archer hasn’t been fantastic in Tampa either going 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA.

•••

Mike Moustakas to Brewers

The Brewers got Kansas City’s slugging third baseman during an off year. Moustakas’ OPS (.778) and batting average (.249) are off his normal trends. However, he had 20 homers before leaving the Royals and his 62 RBIs put him in the top 20 of the American League.

The Brewers are holding the top wild-card spot. The issue to watch with them is how they deploy Moustakas and the rest of the infield.

He’ll likely stay at third base. That could mean Travis Shaw moving to second base and new acquisition Jonathan Schoop playing shortstop for the first time in his career.

Moustakas leaving the Royals at least helps the Pirates against Kasnas City. Between Sept. 14-23, the Pirates play nine straight against the Royals and Milwaukee.

•••

Manny Machado to the Dodgers

OK, this one has been talked to death. You may think that the biggest MLB trade target winding up in the NL West instead of the NL Central won’t impact the Pirates all that much.

It does in one area, though. The Diamondbacks (60 wins), Dodgers (59) and Rockies (58) are tight in the NL West. The second-place team in the NL West is currently pacing to also be the second wild card team.

Entering last night’s game against the Brewers, Machado was hitting .304 with a .912 OPS and two homers since heading out to LA.

•••

Asdrubal Cabrera to the Phillies

The Mets infielder was in the midst of his best offensive season (18 home runs, .875 OPS, 58 RBIs at the time of the trade).

And the Phillies need offense from the infield.

Cabrera could go a long way toward keeping the Phillies in first place in the NL East or at the least within the range of one of the top two wild-card spots the Pirates are trying to get.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH.

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