The Miami Marlins have added the top catcher on the market, sending RHP Zach Thompson, OF Connor Scott, and RHP Kyle Nicolas to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jacob Stallings.
The Pirates did not have a ton of players with value. But after Bryan Reynolds, Stallings was probably their second best player. Offensively, he is a below-average hitter, although not by much. But, he is a very good defensive catcher, who will make Miami’s young pitching staff better. The sad part is that even though his 95 wRC+ from 2021 is not good, it would be a big addition to the Marlins lineup four months ago. This likely means that Jorge Alfaro will be non-tendered by the team after a tough season.
Stallings, who in a month will be 31, is not a free agent until 2025. He hit eight home runs with a .335 OBP, a .369 slugging (.704 OPS), a 2.6 fWAR, and a 3.0 bWAR. He has a career .701 OPS, a 5.0 fWAR, and a 6.0 bWAR.
The return going to Pittsburgh is headlined by Thompson. A career minor leaguer, mostly with the White Sox, he struggled at AAA before making the most out of his MLB opportunity in 2021. Thompson has an effective, high spin cutter that was his primary pitch out of the bullpen and while starting. The 28 year old had a 3.24 ERA, a 3.69 FIP, a 3.71 xERA, and a strikeout rate of 21% in 75 innings.
The two prospects that are now Pirates were both ranked by MLB Pipeline on the Marlins’ top-30 list. Nicolas was 16th, Scott 23rd. Drafted 61st overall in 2020, Nicolas still qualifies as a first round selection. His first professional season started off rough at High-A. He did have 86 strikeouts in 59.2 innings, but also allowed 13 home runs. Nicolas ramped things up after a promotion to AA. In eight starts, he struck out 50 in 39.1 innings with a 2.52 ERA. The main issue for him is control; Nicolas walked 25 batters after his call-up, and 24 prior.
Scott is also a first rounder, albeit a lot higher than Nicolas. He was the 13th overall pick in 2018, picked just ahead of promising Seattle rookie Logan Gilbert. Scott had his best minor league season yet in 2021 at the age of 21. He hit 10 homers with 14 stolen bases, a .779 OPS, and a 112 wRC+ in 96 games. Scott has speed but his bat has always been behind. There is some work to do here for Pittsburgh.