Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant has reportedly requested a trade. (Or maybe he didn’t.) What he definitely has not requested is a Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings all about Pittsburgh athletes who should be traded. But he’s getting one anyway.
10. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
Believe it or not, less than two years ago, thousands of human adults capable of functioning in society held the opinion that the Penguins should trade the hands-down best player of his generation and the arguably second-best player of his generation/101st greatest NHL player of all-time.
Really. Here is an ESPN article from December of 2015 titled: “The case for trading Crosby and Malkin.” And here is one from 2012 from Bleacher Report, bastion of sports insight, with the compelling headline: “Trading Sidney Crosby is better than moving Jordan Staal.” Sweet merciful god. There are countless more terrible Crosby/Malkin takes just like that all over the internet and social media, but instead of showing you all of them, please enjoy this video of a child eating glue:
9. Pirates top prospects
Pirates GM Neal Huntington has received plenty of criticism over his tenure for being unwilling to trade away the organization’s best prospects in order to land veteran talent at the major league level. And that’s fair. But the Pirates trading away highly-desired prospects is simply not going to happen right now, even if the front office wanted to. Why? Because the Pirates don’t really have any highly-desired prospects in the system at the moment.
Take THAT, Pirates haters!
8. Le’Veon Bell
I have advocated in these very pages/URLs previously that there are worse ideas in the world than the Steelers retaining Le’Veon Bell through next season under the franchise tag and then letting him walk as a free agent — the thinking being that it’s not wise to invest a hundred million dollars in a late-20s running back with heavy mileage on him. And, unless Ben Roethlisberger rediscovers the ability to throw footballs in the general vicinity of his teammates, Bell is going to keep getting 30-plus touches a game, meaning the mileage on Bell will pile up quickly.
But instead of letting Bell go after the 2018 season — and since we’re talking trades — what about this idea: Sign Bell to an extension after this season, run him hard in 2018 and ‘19, and then trade him for a nice return to a team in need of a running back or big-name player. But who would the Steelers get to replace Bell as the feature back? Why, some random dad, of course. Steelers linebacker Vince Williams says random dads are among the greatest runners of all.
7. Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin and Bryan Rust
If the Penguins look to make any major moves before this year’s deadline, the above three names could be shopped. Hornqvist is an unrestricted free agent after this season, Rust a restricted free agent, and Hagelin unrestricted after 2018-19. I’m not saying any of the three will or should be dealt, I’m just saying maybe don’t invest a ton of money in a Hornqvist, Hagelin or Rust jersey. Get one of those $45 knockoffs from an unlicensed foreign website that probably somehow finances North Korea’s nuclear program. Actually, on second thought, don’t do that either.
6. Martavis Bryant
Should the Steelers trade Martavis Bryant when his value is at its lowest for crappy mid-round pick? No. That makes no sense. But should they trade Martavis Bryant for some mid-round pick … and then use that pick to draft the next Tom Brady or Dak Prescott? Yes! They should definitely do that.
I hope someone with the Steelers reads this.
5. Andrew McCutchen
Do I want the Pirates to trade McCutchen? No. He’s still their best player at age 31, which is both a credit to him and a fact that says a lot about the team the front office failed to build around him. But would I like to see McCutchen get to actually play for a good team while in the waning days of his prime? Definitely. And that probably would require him to be sent away from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
4. Greg McKegg
The Penguins signed Greg McKegg for nothing as a free agent this offseason, and Greg McKegg has proven to already be an asset to the team. A speedy center, Greg McKegg is currently on pace for 35 points, which would be a career-high for Greg McKegg by quite a margin. And remember: Greg McKegg is only 25 years old. Greg McKegg’s career is on the upswing. So there is an argument to be made that that the Penguins should deal Greg McKegg now while Greg McKegg’s value is at its absolute peak.
On the other hand, maybe we’ve just seen the tip of the Greg McKegg iceberg and the Penguins would regret letting Greg McKegg go. Either way, this has been another instance of forcing Greg McKegg’s name into the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings just to write Greg McKegg. And that concludes this week’s section on Greg McKegg.
3. Todd Haley
Did you know it’s possible to trade coaches in the NFL? The Raiders once traded Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers for draft picks, for example. I mention this for this reason: If Todd Haley lets Ben Roethlisberger throw the ball more than Le’Veon Bell touches it in any game the rest of this season, he should be immediately traded for anything the Steelers can get. I don’t care if it’s some WPIAL assistant.
2. Gerrit Cole
Let me be the [whatever number is half of the total number of Pirates fans] person to say the Pirates should trade Gerrit Cole. He’s a solid pitcher, but obviously is not the top of the rotation pitcher the team hoped he would be. He’s still only 27, though. Some MLB team could give the Pirates a nice return, convinced he simply needs a “change of scenery” or some other such dumb rationalization to reach his supposed potential. Best of all? The stereotypical angry Pittsburgh fan who claims the Pirates always trade their best players couldn’t complain about this one because they all say Cole is the worst pitcher ever.
1. Bad players
Pittsburgh should trade all of its bad players. And in return? Get good players. It’s sad that I’m the one who had to come up with this idea (with an assist to every sports radio caller).