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.
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