If the last-place Pirates could hold onto one key trade chip this summer, it would probably be All-Star closer David Bednar. A two-time-running participant in the Midsummer Classic and in the midst of his third of three excellent consecutive seasons, Bednar is a Pittsburgh native and a great representative for the city, especially as things go south.
He's also begrudgingly available, and the Dodgers should be prepared to overwhelm the Pirates' front office and make them all forget about the marketing boost of holding onto their attractive closer.
The Pirates are reportedly ready to "listen" on Bednar, according to Jon Heyman, and regardless of their intentions, closing up their ears would qualify as negligence. All losing teams should listen to all offers (you hear us loud and clear, Arte Moreno?).
While things continue to trend up for the Dodgers, they'd love to improve their 17th-ranked bullpen ERA. Half-measures might pay off in the offseason, with a full spring training of Mark Prior instruction ahead of struggling pitchers. Right now? The Dodgers can't afford to take any chances or bake in an adjustment period with their bullpen targets.
Improving the middle infield and rotation depth is also paramount, but LA could make a superstar splash in the back end if they offer two or three solid chips for Bednar and overwhelm the Buccos.
Dodgers could cap bullpen with trade for Pirates' David Bednar
Go with an innings-eater addition for the rotation and a star in the 'pen. Oh, wait, what do you know? The Pirates have one of those they can add to a potential package, too. He's kinda familiar. Rich Hill ring a bell?
We know, we know, we know. The Dodgers don't want to overpay for a reliever, even one controlled through 2026. Relievers are fungible. They're always one implosive season away from their fate being sealed. But the Dodgers' spectacular player development program has somehow made top prospects nearly as fungible as relievers. If Los Angeles was to offer, say, Michael Busch, Nick Nastrini, and Yeiner Fernandez for Bednar, would the Pirates be able to resist? Would any MLB team be ready and willing to top that? Furthermore, would the Dodgers even blink about trading a blocked big-league bat and one of seemingly 50 impressive pitching prospects?
The Dodgers can one-up any team's package. If the Pirates are really listening -- and if LA's willing to buck recent trends and go for it -- there might be a match made in the stars here.