The Pirates made it through the unofficial first half of the 2011 season still in the thick of the National League Central race, and a number of folks, including Tom Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, are evaluting what options the club might have if it decides to buy at the July 31 trading deadline. Dierkes sees needs at catcher, first base, shortstop and third base, breaking down possible outside candidates to fill those needs like this.
•Catcher: Counting on Doumit or Snyder seems unwise. The Pirates could look into the same names I mentioned in the Rays post: Chris Iannetta, Ronny Paulino, and Geovany Soto. The Reds would have to fall out of contention and be willing to deal with a division rival for Ramon Hernandez to enter the picture, so that's a long shot, as is Soto.
•First base: Lyle Overbay has not gotten the job done, and I've explained why Carlos Pena would be a good match for Pittsburgh. Derrek Lee, James Loney, and Brad Hawpe could be had, but they've been worse than Overbay. Chris Davis would be a nice addition for the longer-term, but he'd be harder to obtain.
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Michael McKenry has been exceptional behind the plate and acceptable with the bat in place of Doumit and Snyder, so I don't imagine the Bucs feel much urgency to find an outside upgrade at catcher. Cedeno has been limited with the bat, but good enough with the glove that it's hard to see them moving to find someone at shortstop, either, unless it's an obvious upgrade on what they have out there now.
First and third base are a different matter. The Pirates could definitely use bigger guns at one or both positions, and some of Dierkes' suggestions are certainly interesting. Pena's .225 batting average kind of stinks, but his .801 OPS would be a huge upgarde on Overbay's .667. The same would be true of Reynolds and his .227/.839 split at third base. Ramirez might be the best option of them all, but he has a no-trade clause that must be taken into account.