Dejan Kovacevic has a new interview with Bucs owner Bob Nutting that gives the clearest indication we've yet seen of what to expect from the Pirates at the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline. Basically, Nutting's stance, as least as it appears in this article, is twofold.
First, don't trade top prospects. The Pirates won't be dealing guys like Starling Marte or Jameson Taillon. I don't think anyone actually thought they would, but hey, it's good to know for sure.
Second, Nutting is encouraging general manager Neal Huntington to be bold and spend money at the trading deadline.
"That's what we're talking about: How do you make that run?" Nutting said. "We're just a couple games out, close to the All-Star break. It's a great opportunity. And we aren't going to make decisions based on restrictions of financing. We're absolutely in that position where Neal can, right now, be out there aggressively looking at options. He needs to do that."
This obviously doesn't mean that the Pirates are going to spend tens of millions of dollars this month, but it certainly sounds like they see themselves as buyers, and their main tool for buying will be money, rather than top prospects.
This makes it sound like they could pursue someone who's overpaid, someone whose current team wants to dump salary. It sounds like the Cubs will be sellers, and they have a first baseman in Carlos Pena who could help the Pirates. He hits for a low average, but has excellent power, and would be a significant upgrade on Lyle Overbay (not a high bar to clear, admittedly). His salary for 2011 is $10 million, but that includes $5 million to be paid in 2012. If the Bucs are willing to pick up a fair amount of salary, they could probably get Pena without giving up much in the way of prospects. Plus, it would be great to get veteran talent from the Cubs at the deadline, rather than the opposite, wouldn't it?
Anyway, I don't have any specific information that the Pirates will pursue Carlos Pena. But he's the best fit for the Pirates I can think of in terms of cost, opportunity and fit for the Bucs' current roster.