Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays

MLB News and Rumors: Mets, Cubs, Rays, Pirates make trades

On Friday morning, two trades happened featuring the Pirates and Rays, as well as the Cubs and Mets. Let’s break them down.

The Pirates and Rays are in agreement on a trade that will send minor-league infielder Alika Williams to Pittsburgh in exchange for reliever Robert Stephenson, a source told FanSided.

Williams, 24, was a first round pick by the Rays in 2020. He was the second-highest drafted shortstop in Arizona State history and started the 2022 season ranked inside the organization’s top-30 prospects. But he has struggled with consistency on offense, hitting .254/.331/.384 with a .714 OPS in three minor-league seasons. He is, however, considered an above-average defender.

Stephenson was deemed expendable by the Pirates considering the emergence of other relievers in their bullpen. The 30-year-old has struggled this season, posting a 5.14 ERA in 18 appearances, but clearly the Rays see something in him that they liked and traded a talented infielder in Williams to make sure they secured him.

Mets-Cubs make a trade

The Cubs and Mets are in agreement on a trade that will send right-hander Vinny Nittoli to New York, a source tells FanSided.

Nittoli, 32, had informed the Cubs that he was opting out of his minor-league contract on Thursday, league sources tell FanSided. But the Mets swooped in before he could become a free agent and secured a player that will immediately take up a spot on the 40-man roster.

It remains to be seen what role Nittoli will have with the Mets. After all, he has only three innings of major-league experience. But his minor-league numbers — a 4.37 ERA and 296 strikeouts in 271.2 innings — as well as his 3.48 ERA in 20.2 appearances this season make him an intriguing flier for the organization.

The Mets needed pitching depth. In Nittoli, they added that, and while it is unclear what they gave up in return, it was not believed to be for much.

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