CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 8: Rajai Davis #11 celebrates with Travis Snider #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays after Snider's two run home run during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 8, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Pirates Trade For Travis Snider, Gaby Sanchez, Chad Qualls

The Pirates made a series of moves in the hours leading up to the trade deadline, notably getting Blue Jays outfielder Travis Snider in exchange for Brad Lincoln.

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Alfonso Soriano Would Have Blocked Trade To Pirates, According To Report

Dejan Kovacevic reports that Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who has a no-trade clause, would have blocked a trade to the Pirates.

He declined to accept a trade to Pittsburgh, I learned tonight. Now, I don't know how far talks might have gone, if they started all. Just that, whether they did or not, Soriano wasn't coming to the Pirates.

Soriano is in the midst of a strong season, but he's 36 and will be owed $18 million a year through 2014. That would have made it difficult for the Pirates to trade for him in any case, although it might have been possible, depending on how much money the Cubs kicked in.

Instead of getting Soriano, the Pirates wound up trading for Travis Snider to address their present and future needs in the outfield. Snider is under team control for four more years after 2012, at what will likely be reasonable prices.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Chad Qualls Trade: Pirates Acquire Reliever From Yankees For Casey McGehee

The Pirates have acquired reliever Chad Qualls for infielder Casey McGehee.

For the Pirates, this move is a response to earlier deals. The trade of Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays for Travis Snider created an opening in the Pirates' bullpen, and the trade of Gorkys Hernandez and a competitive-balance pick for Gaby Sanchez, a righty-hitting first baseman, made McGehee superfluous.

Losing McGehee is no big deal; Sanchez is better than he is (although by how much is an open question), and younger. But Qualls is terrible -- he couldn't post flashy numbers last year even in the pitcher's paradise of San Diego, and this year, he's striking out a measly 4.89 batters per nine innings. I'd prefer to see a younger, and arguably better, pitcher like Bryan Morris or Chris Leroux in the Pirates' bullpen rather than a veteran who's been flailing for a couple years now.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Gaby Sanchez Trade: Pirates Acquire Marlins 1st Baseman

The Pirates have acquired first baseman Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins, possibly -- although this isn't clear yet -- for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and their competitive-balance draft pick.

Sanchez is in the midst of a horrible season, posting an ungodly .556 OPS, but he had decent years as the Marlins' regular first baseman in 2010 and 2011, and he's only 28. And losing Hernandez, a brilliant defensive outfielder who can't hit at all, isn't worth worrying about.

Still, it seems strange that the Pirates would give up what is basically a first-round draft pick -- it's unclear exactly which pick it would be in next year's draft, but it's probably in the mid-30s -- for a player like this. Sanchez will probably help the Pirates' bench, but the Bucs already have a first baseman who's perfectly capable of hitting lefties, which is the one thing Sanchez does very well on offense, in Casey McGehee. (McGehee has been bad so far this year, but a lot of that is that the Pirates have asked him to play too much against righties.) The Pirates must feel Sanchez has some bounce-back potential; we'll see.

UPDATE: The Pirates have also acquired minor-league reliever Kyle Kaminska in the trade. I'm guessing they'll send him to Class AA.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Pirates To Promote Daniel McCutchen In Wake Of Brad Lincoln Trade, According To Report

Kristy Robinson reports that the Pirates are promoting reliever Daniel McCutchen to take Brad Lincoln's place on the roster. It looks like there will be another move for the Pirates to make room for new outfielder Travis Snider.

McCutchen is a mopup man at best, but it may be that there's another move coming, or that the Bucs, after giving up 14 runs to the Cubs Monday night, simply want someone who can soak up a bunch of innings. In any case, Bryan Morris, in particular, looks like a much better long-term bullpen option than McCutchen does, and I would hope the Pirates would promote Morris eventually. He has a much better chance of doing a Lincoln impersonation than McCutchen does, not that either of them are pitchers of Lincoln's caliber.

The trading deadline comes late Tuesday afternoon. The Pirates have already added Snider and Wandy Rodriguez, and if they make another move, it might be for a reliever.

UPDATE: The Pirates have, in fact, promoted McCutchen. Drew Sutton has been designated for assignment, and Travis Snider will join the Pirates in time to play the Cubs on Tuesday.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Travis Snider Trade: Neal Huntington Comments On Deal

The Pirates traded relief pitcher Brad Lincoln for Blue Jays outfielder Travis Snider very early on Tuesday morning, but the hour didn't keep Bucs general manager Neal Huntington from commenting on the trade.

Via's Tom Singer.

"We think he will fit in well with us in right," said Huntington, who has had his eyes for a long while on someone he considers "a hard-nosed player with power who likes to use the whole field and can make pitchers pay for their mistakes."

Huntington also called Lincoln a "quality pitcher who will have an outstanding career" with his new organization north of the border, but noted the Pirates needed to give up value to get value.

Elsewhere in Singer's piece, Snider said he was excited to be joining a "contending organization" in the Pirates and that he looking forward to the opportunity to play in October. His new club will start the day three games back of the Reds in the National League Central and three games up on the Dodgers and Giants for the second wildcard spot.

For the latest on the Pirates, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Bucs Could Be "Out Of The Running" For Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Shin-Soo Choo, According To Report

Major League Baseball's trading deadline day has arrived, and the Pirates could still make a deal after trading for Houston right-hander Wandy Rodriguez last week and Toronto outfielder Travis Snider early Tuesday morning. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel reports that might not happen by the time the 4 p.m. deadline rolls around if management clings to its top prospects, though.

The Pirates are reluctant to part with rookie outfielder Starling Marte or top right-handed pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole, which takes them out of the running for outfielder such as Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Shin-Soo Choo.

The Pirates also have been looking to upgrade their bench and bullpen with smaller deals, but even that was proving difficult.

Victorino and Pence, both of the Phillies, are nearing the ends of their contracts. Victorino will be a free agent after 2012 and Pence will enter his final year of arbitration in 2013 after banking $10.4 million this past season, according to baseball reference, which makes the Pirates' refusal to include the prospects in deals understandable. The club will control their rights for up to six seasons from the time they reach the majors, which likely outweighs any short-term gain the outfielding duo could offer in management's mind. Choo, of the Indians, is also coming to the end of his deal, which puts him in a similar boat with Victorino and Pence.

All three players would be upgrades in the Bucs' outfield immediately, so look for general manager Neal Huntington to stay in discussions if the prices on these players come down as the deadline approaches. But, if the two big trades so far this July say anything, it's that the Pirates are thinking further ahead than 2012 when moving their biggest assets.

For the latest on the Bucs, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates Blog.


Pirates Trades: Bucs Acquire Travis Snider, Deal Brad Lincoln

The Pirates announced early Tuesday morning that they have traded relief pitch Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays in exchange for left-handed hitting outfielder Travis Snider.

Snider, 24, is hitting .250 with three home runs, eight RBIs and an .829 OPS in limited big league action this season. In 56 games prior to being called up on July 20, Snider hit .335 with 13 home runs, 56 RBIs and a 1.021 OPS at Triple-A Las Vegas in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. In parts of five Major League seasons, he has a career batting average of .247 and OPS of .734.

Lincoln, 27, is 4-2 with a 2.73 ERA and 60 strikeouts against 14 walks in 59.1 innings this season, pitching mostly out of the Pirates bullpen. He has been used primarily in a long relief role for Pittsburgh.

For the latest on the Bucs, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Deal For Shane Victorino Appears To Be Stalling, According To Report

The Pittsburgh Pirates, though interested in Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, appear unwilling to part with the players needed to swing the trade, according to a report by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel. The Phillies are apparently asking for quite a bit in this deal. This could also be why they have not traded for Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

One #Pirates source just laughed when I asked how high is #Phillies asking price for Victorino. "I'll tell you later," he said, an indication team had cooled on acquiring the soon-to-be-FA. Shin-Soo Choo remains possibility, but Pirates understandably are very reluctant to include Starling Marte in deal.

The Pirates are trying to look for any player that can shore up their roster for the final run during the regular season. Hunter Pence might be another possibility, but the price might be too high.

Same goes for [Hunter] Pence. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pirates pick up bench guy and reliever -- magic dust is wearing off for [Juan] Cruz and another lefty in pen would be nice.

The Pirates are currently three games back of the division lead, but are in position for one of the two National League wild card spots.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Phillies, there's The Good Phight.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Bucs Don't 'Seem Alive On' Shane Victorino, According To Report

Ken Rosenthal reports that, as of Sunday night, the Pirates weren't big players for Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

Things can change quickly over next 31 hours, but #Pirates did not seem alive on Victorino as of late last night. #Phillies

These kinds of reports don't necessarily mean a whole lot, as things change quickly this time of year, and teams have all kinds of reasons for telling reporters things. There has reportedly been plenty of interest in Victorino, with the Giants, Dodgers and Reds also looking like possible destinations. For the Pirates, he'd be a steady presence to go with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte in the Pirates' outfield, moving Alex Presley to the bench and pinning Casey McGehee to the bench against righties. That would be valuable to the Pirates, particularly since Victorino would also be very helpful on defense.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Phillies, there's The Good Phight.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Padres May Not Deal Chase Headley, According To Report

San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley has been one of the most-rumored players to be on the move as the 2012 trade deadline approaches. However, a recent report from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says that the Padres may not be trading him after all.


Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington has commented on the high price that the Padres were asking for Headley, possibly hoping it would come down as the deadline approached. Headley could be a good fit for the Pirates, as he could possibly stabilize the team's sometimes inconsistent offense, although it's unclear where he'd fit in defensively.

Of course, there is still plenty of time between now and the deadline on Tuesday, so there could be a chance of a deal being hammered out.

For more on the Pittsburgh Pirates, visit Bucs Dugout. Still not enough baseball for you, head over to Baseball Nation for all the latest news as the trade deadline approaches.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Kevin Correia Wants To Be Dealt's Tom Singer reports that Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia, who was bumped from the rotation when the Bucs acquired Wandy Rodriguez, wants to be traded.

"I want to start. For me to start, I’d either have to go elsewhere, or have someone get hurt here," Correia said. "I don’t want to see anyone to get hurt, so …"

When manager Clint Hurdle had his talk with Correia on Thursday to inform him of the staff decision to move him to the bullpen, Kevin said he did not specifically inquire about the chances of him being dealt.

"(General manager) Neal Huntington wasn’t part of that conversation, so what would have been the point? The manager doesn’t make those calls," Correia said.

The Pirates might be able to deal Correia, but I don't see them doing it out of kindness, as they've done in other circumstances with minor-league veterans who have a chance to play elsewhere -- they're in a pennant race. At the same time, Correia has a ludicrously low 4.15 strikeouts per nine innings (although that figure has improved recently), and most contenders wouldn't want him.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trading Deadline: Pirates 'Checking In' On Indians' Shin-Soo Choo

Just over two days from MLB's trading deadline, the Pirates are still looking to add a bat and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel tweets the club is "looking into" Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but that the price would likely include recently called-up outfielder Starling Marte.

Choo, 30, is hitting .295 with 12 home runs, 35 RBIs and an .871 OPS so far this season. He is arbitration-eligible in 2013 and could become a free agent in 2014. For that reason, the Pirates would likely be hesitant to move Marte, a player they control for at least the next six seasons and who has shown a lot of promise in the minor leagues. Before getting the call to the big club earlier this week, Marte was hitting .286 with 12 home runs, 62 RBIs and an .847 OPS in Class AAA.

If the Bucs can find another way to bring Choo into the fold for the stretch run, however, he'd be a major upgrade at a corner outfield spot.

For the latest on the Bucs, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates, Phillies Swap A Possibility

The Pirates already completed a deal for Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez, but that doesn't mean they're done making moves. Jayson Stark suggests that an in-state trade between the Pirates and Phillies might be a possibility.

The Pirates also have portrayed themselves to other clubs as a team that's now more likely to just keep running Starling Marte out there than to deal for a bat. But one exec who spoke with them told us: "Watch out for the Pirates and Phillies." Pittsburgh has had interest in Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. And the Phillies have scouted the Pirates and their system extensively. But teams in touch with the Phillies are still describing their buy-or-sell stance as a "holding pattern."

The Pirates' surest path to upgrading their offense would be acquiring a shortstop, but there aren't many available. It wouldn't make any sense for them to send Marte back to the minors, but it's still the case that Alex Presley hasn't hit much this season and would probably be better-suited for a fourth outfielder role. Either Victorino or Pence would fit in well for the Bucs, although Pence would probably cost more than the Pirates would be willing to give up.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trading Deadline: Pirates Could Trade Starter For Bat, According To Report

Now inside a week before the July 31 trading deadline, the Pirates remain active in the market to add some more offense, and the acquisition of starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez from Houston on Tuesday could help them in their quest, according to's Tom Singer.

General manager Neal Huntington remains on the prowl for a three-dimensional outfielder (bat, glove, legs).

The expectation is that the Rodriguez acquisition set in motion a deal in which another starter would be dealt for the outfielder the Pirates need.

For now, the Pirates Big League rotation is set with Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens and Erik Bedard. Kevin Correia and Brad Lincoln, both pitching out of the bullpen, have been starters at points this season, too, so the club has a bit of a surplus of starting pitching at the moment.

Of course, Correia and Bedard's contracts with the Pirates expire at the end of the season, so Huntington might be reluctant to deal any of the others at the deadline.

The club does have some depth to work with at Triple-A Indianapolis, however. Jeff Locke is 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 33 walks. Justin Wilson is 8-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 113 strikeouts against 55 walks.

It's possible Huntington could be willing to deal one of these young arms to get another bat, just as he traded Rudy Owens, 8-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 85 strikeouts against 25 walks, in the Rodriguez deal.

For the latest on the Bucs, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


Wandy Rodriguez Trade: Pirates Make Risky, But Bold, Move To Bolster Rotation

What does Wandy Rodriguez bring to the table for the Pirates, and what did they give up?


Wandy Rodriguez Trade: Pirates Will Likely Pay Lefty $17.7 Million Through 2014 Season

Coming on the heels of this offseason's acquisition of high-priced starter A.J. Burnett, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a deal for another well-compensated pitcher on Tuesday. The trade with Houston for Wandy Rodriguez provided a jolt of excitement for Bucs' fans on Tuesday night after a loss to the Cubs. Pittsburgh sent Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman, and Colton Cain to Houston in exchange for the veteran lefty.

One big outstanding issue was how the money would shake out between the Astros and Pirates -- including a player option in the final year, Rodriguez is owed $30 million through the 2014 season. Per Bucs Dugout, the Pirates will pay Rodriguez $1.7 million of the remaining salary this season while the Astros will pay $2.3 million. The Bucs will then pay $8.5 of the $13 million owed next season. If Rodriguez exercises his player option in the third year (which is expected), the Pirates will be on the hook for $7.5 million.

In total, the Pirates will pay approximately $17.7 million of the remaining $30 million owed to Rodriguez over the next two and a half seasons.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For all your MLB trade news as the deadline approaches, check out Baseball Nation.


Wandy Rodriguez Traded To Pirates From Astros

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade splash on Tuesday night, pulling off a deal with the Houston Astros for starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. The Bucs sent pitcher Rudy Owens, outfielder Robbie Grossman, and pitcher Colton Cain to Houston in return for the veteran lefty.

Rodriguez is a strikeout pitcher who has toiled away in anonymity on a poor Houston club, with only Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels fanning more hitters since 2009. He has a 3.79 ERA this season and will immediately become a fixture in the Bucs' rotation.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington issued a brief comment on the trade, via the Pirates Twitter account:

Wandy Rodriguez is a quality starting pitcher and we are pleased to add him to our club. We believe he will be a solid addition to our rotation for the remainder of this season and beyond.

Here's what SB Nation's Pirates blog, Bucs Dugout, had to say about the acquisition:

Lots of dollars are going to come back to the Pirates, but my initial reaction is favorable. The most important aspect of this deal is the Pirates potentially control him through 2014. The early pencil of the 2014 rotation is A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, +1--potentially Gerrit Cole later in the season.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For all your MLB trade news as the deadline approaches, check out Baseball Nation.


MLB Trade Rumors: Paul Maholm Discusses Possible Return To Pirates

The Cubs are rumored to be trading anything that isn't nailed down, and that includes starting pitcher Paul Maholm, who might even head to ... the Pirates?

Well, possibly, but probably not, in this writer's opinion. The Bucs didn't even offer Maholm a deal this offseason, and it would be hard to see him coming back now, when the Pirates will probably hope to find a more dramatic upgrade elsewhere. Nonetheless, Maholm recently spoke to the Trib about rumors of his return to the Pirates:

"It would be ironic to leave as a free agent and then they wanted me back," he said. "They are rumors, and we will see how it turns out. My next two starts are against them. It should be an interesting 10 days."

Maholm is in the midst of a solid, if uninspiring, season with the Cubs, striking out a few more batters than usual but also allowing a few more home runs. If the Pirates traded for him, he would likely replace Kevin Correia in the their rotation.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Ryan Dempster Trade: Braves, Cubs Reportedly Will Strike Deal's Mark Bowman reports that the Chicago Cubs will trade starting pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves. It's not clear what the Braves will receive, although it looks like there's a good chance fellow pitcher Randall Delgado will be involved.

For the Pirates, this is significant for a couple reasons. First, Dempster, the Cubs' best player this season, had been scheduled to start against the Bucs on Wednesday. Now they'll apparently get to face a much lesser pitcher.

Second, the Pirates have been connected to just about every starting pitcher and outfielder on the market. This deal, once it's completed, will help set the market for starting pitchers, potentially greasing the wheels for the Pirates to make a move of their own.

There's no guarantee of that, of course, and there's still a very good chance that the Pirates will wait until right before the July 31 deadline to make a move, if they make a significant trade at all. But once this deal is official, there will be a lot more clarity in the trading market.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop. For more on the Cubs, there's Bleed Cubbie Blue.


MLB Trade Rumors: Shane Victorino A Possible Fit For Pirates

Rob Biertempfel tweets that the Pirates, who can really use outfielders, might be interested in the Phillies' Shane Victorino if they can get him for the right price.

#Pirates see Shane Victorino as perfect fit in their OF, but they are out of mix for trade unless #Phillies drop asking price dramatically.

I more or less agree with the Pirates' assessment. Much of Victorino's appeal lies in the fact that the Phillies really ought not to be asking a lot for him. His salary, at $9.5 million, isn't prohibitive, but it's mildly annoying, and he's a free-agent-to-be on a team that's going nowhere. He's also in the midst of a mediocre offensive year. Nonetheless, he's a consistently strong defensive player, which ought to be helpful to a Pirates team that has recently been starting Garrett Jones and minor-league infielder Drew Sutton in its outfield, and given Victorino's history, there's reason to hope his hitting might bounce back down the stretch.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trade Rumors: Carlos Quentin Nearing Extension With Padres, Appears To Be Off The Market

Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, who had been connected to the Pirates as a potential trade deadline target, is apparently nearing an extension with his current team, which would remove him from the trade market.

The deal is believed to be for about $27MM over three years and with a very reachable bonus that could boost the total to $30MM. Quentin's deal includes a full no-trade clause, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

Jon Heyman notes that Quentin's contract would be comparable to those of Michael Cuddyer, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Willingham -- basically, a standard deal for a good, but not great, slugger in his late prime.

For the Pirates, this would just make trades more difficult. There are lots of potential buyers in the trade market and very few sellers, and the Bucs can really use an outfielder.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Padres, there's Gaslamp Ball.


MLB Trading Deadline: Pirates Could Target Hunter Pence, According To Report

Major League Baseball's trading deadline is fast approaching, but is still a little more than a week away. That week could be critical in determining what the Phillies, currently 13.5 games behind the Nationals in the National League East and 10 games behind the Braves for the second N.L. wildcard spot, decide on how to proceed with moving or retaining coveted outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. If Philadelphia wants to move Pence, ESPN's Jayson Stark thinks the Pirates could be a suitor.

He can't be a free agent until after next season, so this is the optimal time to move him. But he and Carlos Ruiz are their only productive right-handed bats. And if they deal Pence and Shane Victorino, it would mean having to reconstruct their entire outfield by next Opening Day. So if the Phillies have a rough week, they'll almost certainly listen on Pence in the days before the deadline. But they'd need a major haul in return to pull the trigger. One club that could make a run at Pence: the Pirates.

Pence is having a productive season so far. He's hitting .277 with 17 homers, 57 RBIs and an .814 OPS. He also a .325 hitter at PNC Park and has five home runs, 22 RBIs and an .890 OPS there in 33 games. If he could bring that type of punch to Pittsburgh, he'd really help give the Bucs some stability in a corner outfield spot currently filled by guys like Alex Presley, Garrett Jones and converted infielder Drew Sutton, who, despite flashing a hot bat, has been struggling in the field.

It's worth noting that Stark isn't reporting that the Bucs are pursuing Pence just yet, but simply pointing out that if the Phillies are active in trying to move the 29-year-old, the Pirates could be one of the better fits for him on the market. Something to keep an eye on.

For the latest on the Bucs, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates Asked About Royals' Billy Butler

The Pirates seem to be going after any hitter with a pulse, Jayson Stark reports, and that includes Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.

If there's a hitter who might have even a remote shot of getting traded, the Pirates have asked about him. One surprising name they took a run at: Kansas City's favorite All-Star folk hero, Billy Butler. But the Pirates are still in a buy-low frame of mind. And the Royals have told a few clubs that inquired that they'd have to be blown away to deal their All-Star.

Butler is a good hitter, but he can't play defense at all. The one position, besides DH, at which a team could theoretically play him is first base, but the Pirates don't really need a first baseman so much as they need someone to prevent Casey McGehee from hitting against righties. An outfielder, who could limit utilityman Drew Sutton's playing time in the outfield while also reducing the number of days Garrett Jones and McGehee are both in the lineup at the same time, would make more sense, especially given Sutton's recent defensive woes. I like Butler, but he's not a good fit for the Pirates, and if I were them, I wouldn't offer much for him.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Bucs Pursuing Chase Headley

Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Pirates are one of many teams interested in Padres hitter Chase Headley.

Among the teams pushing hardest for Headley are the Pittsburgh Pirates (Headley has a .333 batting average at PNC Park in Pittsburgh) and the Baltimore Orioles. But the list of candidates ranges from the Dodgers and Diamondbacks from the National League West to the rebuilding Seattle Mariners.

Center writes that the Padres could get "top two prospects" for Headley, which seems reasonable -- Headley only makes $3.475 million this year, and he isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season. His stat lines (he's hitting .266/.363/.421 this year) don't look all that impressive, but those are good numbers in the pitchers' paradise in San Diego.

It's unclear how the Pirates might use Headley. He's a better defensive third baseman than Pedro Alvarez, but it would probably be more likely that the Bucs would play Headley in the outfield, given their problems there.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trading Deadline Profiles: Justin Upton And Stephen Drew

AZ Snake Pit's Jim McLennan answers some question about reported Pirates trade targets Justin Upton and Stephen Drew, both of the Arizona Diamondbacks.


MLB Trading Deadline: Pirates Among Teams Interested In Stephen Drew, According To Report

The Pirates are among three teams interested in Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.

Drew has hit .192 with no homers, three RBIs and a .496 OPS in 15 games so far this season after returning on June 27 from an ankle injury suffered last July. Before his injury last year, he was hitting .252 with five homers, 45 RBIs and a .713 OPS. The injury cost him the rest of the 2011 season. Drew's best season at the plate was 2008, when he hit .291 with 21 home runs, 67 RBIs and an .835 OPS.

The Pirates' reported interest likely has a lot to do with the struggles of Clint Barmes. So far this season, the free agent acquired in the offseason is hitting just .205 with four homers, 24 RBIs and a .521 OPS in 82 games. With Drew not performing well only weeks after returning from a major injury, however, it's debatable whether he would be an improvement at short for the Bucs, although he has a history of hitting reasonably well.

The other teams listed as possible destinations for Drew were the Tigers and Red Sox.

For the latest on the Bucs, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates Not Budging In Justin Upton Talks, According To Report

Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Pirates are, so far, unwilling to give up top prospects Jameson Taillon or Starling Marte in a deal for Diamondbacks star Justin Upton.

[Neal] Huntington thus far has refused to part with minor league outfielder Starling Marte or right-hander Jameson Taillon. At least one — and maybe both — would represent a fair price for a player of Upton’s ability (fourth in the NL MVP vote last year) and cost certainty (three years at $38.5 million, starting in 2013).

I assume the Pirates are also unwilling to give up No. 1 prospect Gerrit Cole. If this is true, it's not entirely clear how the Pirates think they'll be able to convince the D'Backs to trade Upton. Taillon and Marte are certainly good prospects, but as Morosi points out, they aren't exactly Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout. Upton is still only 24 and is under contract for three years after this one; he already has excellent seasons on his resume, and it's not unreasonable to hope he'll get even better before his contract expires, despite his struggles this year.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trade Deadline: Money Could Play Into Pirates Pursuit Of Justin Upton

After ESPN's Jayson Stark called the Pirates "serious bidders" for the services of Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton on "Baseball Tonight" on Sunday, many are wondering what it would take to bring the 24-year-old to Pittsburgh.

ESPN Sweetspot blogger Christina Kahrl thinks money could be a big factor in the negotiations.

With three years and $38 million left on his contract, I wouldn't. Even last year, when Upton "broke out," all you got outside of the bandbox he calls home was a .767 OPS, which is below average for a right fielder (.794). Career, he's at .742 outside of the ballpark formerly known as BOB. If the Snakes want real prospects, they'd need to offer cash back to help his new team afford a good-not-great outfielder. If they can't offer that, their shot at multiple blue-chippers dwindles.

Fellow blogger Matt Philip points out that if the Pirates are looking for a deal more geared toward winning in 2012, they might want to consider a cheaper rental like the Padres Carlos Quentin, but thinks Upton can help the Bucs in the long term.

Upton will be considerably more expensive in the years to come. While he's making just $6.75 million this season, that figure will jump to $9.75 million next season, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015. Andrew McCutchen will cost the Bucs considerably more in the future as well. His salary will jump to $7.25 million in 2014 and a cool $10 million in 2015. For a franchise that routinely posts overall payroll figures in the $30-40 million range, investing more than $20 million in two players would certainly be a change in direction.

For the latest on the Pirates, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Pirates blog.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates Have Scout Watching Justin Upton In Chicago This Weekend, According To Report

On the heels of the report by Jayson Stark that the Pittsburgh Pirates have become "serious bidders" on Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Pirates have had a scout at Wrigley Field in Chicago watching him this weekend.

While this doesn't indicate if the team has moved any closer into getting a deal for him, it does confirm Stark's report that the Pirates are indeed still interested in him. The scout in Chicago could also mean that the Pirates are taking looks at some of the Cubs starting pitching, including Ryan Dempster for a possible trade, but that hasn't been confirmed yet. The Pirates, along with many other teams, have been looking to shore up their rotation with the trade deadline approaching.

For more Pirates trade rumors, check out Bucs Dugout. Still not enough baseball for you? Make sure to visit Baseball Nation for the latest news from all 30 teams.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates Could Land Justin Upton Without Giving Up Gerrit Cole Or Jameson Taillon, According To Report

During his weekly appearance on Sunday's edition of Baseball Tonight, ESPN baseball insider Jayson Stark says that the Pirates have emerged as a "serious candidate" in a possible trade for Arizona Diamondbacks superstar outfielder Justin Upton.

Even more surprising is that Stark said that the Pirates could land him without giving up one of their top pitching prospects, Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon. He mentions that the D'Backs have a tremendous interest in Pirates outfield prospect Starling Marte, who is the top hitting prospect in the Pittsburgh system.

It would seem as this scenario would be a bit farfetched, as Marte is just 13 months younger than Upton and has yet to play a game in the major leagues. You would have to figure that there would have to be major league players involved on the Pirates' part, which could make a deal a tricky proposition.

For more Pirates trade rumors, check out Bucs Dugout. Still not enough baseball for you? Make sure to visit Baseball Nation for the latest news from all 30 teams.


MLB Trade Rumors: Jon Lester A Potential Target For Pirates

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox' Jon Lester could be a trade target for the Pirates, who could get a lot of help from either a starting pitcher or an outfielder as they make a run at their first playoff berth since 1992.

Jon Lester, LHP, Red Sox — He has been on Pittsburgh’s radar along with Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza. It doesn’t appear the Sox would deal unless they got exceptional value back, and it doesn’t appear the Pirates would part with pitching prospect Gerrit Cole, whom the Sox would want.

This item is buried in a long list of trade rumors, so it's hard to know what to make of it. In any case, though, Lester is one more name to add to the list. There's no doubt he'd be a nice addition, and he's under control at rather reasonable prices through 2014, so unlike Hamels and Greinke, he wouldn't be a rental. However, Gerrit Cole would be a steep price to pay for a Pirates team who sees him as a big part of their future.

Via MLB Trade Rumors.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates 'Are Going To Get A Bat,' According To Report

On ESPN's Baseball Tonight, Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian both recently predicted that the Pirates would acquire a hitter at the trading deadline, which comes up at the end of the month.

Kurkjian's comments were particularly specific:

I've been told by people within the organization they are going to get a bat, either an outfielder or a first baseman. Whatever they get, Garrett Jones will go play the other position. They are not fooling around. After all these years under .500, they have a chance to make the playoffs, and they're going to go for it ...

This all makes sense from a positional perspective, since the Pirates have gotten very little from corner outfielders Jose Tabata and Alex Presley this year. Prospect Starling Marte is likely to soon be promoted from the minors to take one of the outfield spots alongside Andrew McCutchen, and if the Pirates can make a trade for another outfielder to help the offense, that would be ideal.

Recent rumors have connected the Pirates to Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, although a deal that ambitious is probably unlikely.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trade Rumors: Justin Upton Not Likely To Be Traded For Prospects

Nick Piecoro reports that the Diamondbacks are unlikely to make a conventional veteran-for-prospects trade involving outfielder Justin Upton, given that they're still only four games back in the N.L. West.

"We're not looking for prospects," Towers said. "We're still in win mode. We're certainly not in sell mode at all."

This means that the discussions Pirates fans have had about dealing, say, Jameson Taillon in an Upton deal are probably moot.

Well, kind of. There's certainly the chance that the D'Backs could do a three-team deal, where the Pirates ship prospects to a rebuilding team, the rebuilding team sends veterans to Arizona, and Arizona sends Upton to Pittsburgh. That's complex, but it might actually be the easiest way for the Diamondbacks to get what they want. If it's a two-team trade, though, the Pirates won't be involved, unless they do something incredibly surprising, like trading Pedro Alvarez.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Justin Upton Rumors: Blue Jays A Better Trade Fit Than Pirates, According To Report

Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic describes the Diamondbacks' side of potential Justin Upton trade discussions. He notes that the D'Backs already have plenty of young outfielders, and instead would want (at least, presumably) a shortstop, third baseman or potential ace in return for Upton.

He also says that the Pirates don't have what the Diamondbacks are looking for.

The Pirates are reportedly interested, but, according to sources, they don’t match up well with the Diamondbacks.

Who knows what that means, but the Pirates' strength as a trading partner would be ace-caliber pitching prospects (like Jameson Taillon), and young outfielders (like Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco). If the Diamondbacks aren't too interested in outfielders, or they want players at other positions who can step up right away, the Bucs probably aren't the right team for them. Piecoro notes that the Blue Jays are potentially a better fit, possibly because Arizona likes young Jays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Hechavarria has never hit well outside the great hitting environment in Class AAA Las Vegas, so that doesn't necessarily make much sense, but hey.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Brad Lincoln Could Be Part Of Justin Upton Trade Talks

Rob Biertempfel writes that Pirates reliever Brad Lincoln could be a part of trade talks for Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton or Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin.

I've heard D'backs and Padres might have some degree of interest in #Pirates RHP Brad Lincoln as part of deals for Upton/Quentin. Dbacks offered Upton to Pirates and have sent scout to Triple-A Indy to start compiling wish list. Padres sent scout to Low-A West Virginia.

Lincoln would, of course, be a complementary player in an Upton trade, but not a main piece. He shows signs of being an excellent reliever, but has struggled as a starter.

The Diamondbacks sending a scout to Indianapolis could be a sign that they are interested in outfielder Starling Marte, one of the Pirates' better prospects and a potential key to acquiring a player of Upton's quality.

The West Virginia roster includes a number of interesting players. Infielder Alen Hanson would be too much to give up for Quentin, who is eligible for free agency after the season, but there are also outfielders Gregory Polanco and Willy Garcia, and others.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Diamondbacks Will Need 'Perfect' Deal To Trade Justin Upton, According To Reports

With the news breaking Sunday that the Pittsburgh Pirates and other teams have shown interest in superstar Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that interest is in fact 'huge' for Upton, but the team is not rushing to deal him.

The Diamondbacks, who are on the cusp of the race in the NL West, don't have to trade Upton and are said only interested in making a "perfect'' deal.

Although the 2012 season has not gone according to plan for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they are still very much in the thick of the NL West race. They have Upton signed through 2015, so unless a remarkable deal comes their way, they will more than likely hold on to him through the deadline.

For more Pirates trade rumors, check out Bucs Dugout. Still not enough baseball for you? Make sure to visit Baseball Nation for the latest news from all 30 teams.


Pirates Trade Rumors: Bucs Could Pursue Starting Pitching, John Hart Says

Rob Biertempfel quotes former GM John Hart, who says that, while it's widely assumed the Pirates will want a hitter at the trading deadline, acquiring a starting pitcher is also a real possibility.

"Even if the their offense is not world championship-type offense, you can combat that with quality pitching. I like Pirates' pitching this year. Burnett trade has really panned out and I like job McDonald has done, bullpen is very solid. But I don't think they should overlook adding a big pitcher. They might be served better by doing that."

That's possible, especially since this year's trading market will probably be heavy on pitchers. The Pirates have a good 1-2 punch with James McDonald and A.J. Burnett. After that, it's not so clear. Jeff Karstens has spent most of the season so far on the shelf, but his strong last two starts give hope that he can be a good mid-rotation option for the rest of the season. Erik Bedard has collapsed badly of late, and fifth starter Kevin Correia is basically just a junkballer. The Pirates have good depth in Indianapolis in Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson, but none of them appear to be good enough right now to be dramatic upgrades. Acquiring another starting pitcher would certainly make sense.

For more Pirates trade rumors, check out Bucs Dugout.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates Reportedly In On Justin Upton

Jon Paul Morosi reports the Pirates are interested in young Diamondbacks star outfielder Justin Upton.

Major-league sources told the Pirates have had preliminary trade discussions regarding two power-hitting outfielders, San Diego’s Carlos Quentin and Arizona’s Justin Upton. Talent evaluators from those two clubs have scouted Pittsburgh’s minor-league affiliates in recent days, as the teams prepare preference lists of prospects they want in the potential deals.

If the Pirates were to trade for Upton, it would be a blockbuster of epic proportions. Upton is having a disappointing year, but he's still only 24 (a year younger than Andrew McCutchen), has several good-to-great seasons on his resume, and was once the first overall pick of the draft. he's also signed through 2015. The Diamondbacks will ask for a king's ransom for him. And when they do, the Pirates should strongly consider paying it. I would imagine any deal would start with one of the Bucs' top two pitching prospects, either Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon, and probably also include a couple other very good prospects.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit.


MLB Trade Rumors: Pirates Like Phillies' Shane Victorino, Padres' Carlos Quentin, According To Report

The Pirates will probably be looking for bats as the July 31 trade deadline looms.

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