Pirates Engaging Clubs in Trade Talks, But Market is Slow Right Now

After the Pirates took 2-of-3 from the Cleveland Indians and headed back to Pittsburgh, General Manager Neal Huntington and skipper Clint Hurdle both said their plan was to have a sit down conversation to discuss ways to improve the ball club both internally and externally as the trade deadline approaches.

“Clint and I talk multiple times everyday,” Huntington said. “There are times where it’s good to sit down and walk through what he’s seeing, what he’s thinking. What I’m seeing, what I’m thinking. We work as hard as we can to make sure we’re on the same page and have the same mindset as we go forward. We work through our challenges, we worked through our differences and put some things together…What might we be able to do at what cost? What can’t we do? And ultimately, what do we have internally for some options to fall back on.”

There have been several reports that the club has interest in infielders Chase Headley from San Diego and Kevin Youkilis from Boston. There has also been interest in pitcher Joe Saunders from Arizona as well, according to reports. Fans are starting to get impatient wanting the Pirates to make a trade to upgrade their offense. But making a deal isn’t as easy as picking up a loaf of bread at the Grocery Store.

“I saw a statistic the other day, 21 or 22 teams are within five or six or seven games of first place,” Huntington said. “Not a whole lot of sellers out there. It’s a pretty obvious trade market right now — it’s really non-existent.”

“It’s starting to become a little bit more [sellers] as teams are beginning to engage, but what’s out there publicly and what’s happening privately are two very different elements. Same thing for someone to speculate that someone’s ready to sell and it’s another thing for somebody be actually ready to sell. It’s a very different criteria.”

It’s not news that the Pirates need help on offense. Their .228 team average is ranked dead last in the National League, and trails only Oakland in all of baseball. All-Star Andrew McCutchen is carrying the team on offense, leading the club in average (.325), OBP (.382), SLG (.541), and OPS (.923). He’s ranked second only to Pedro Alvarez in home runs (12). The Bucs need players such as Alvarez (.722 OPS), Neil Walker (.702) and Jose Tabata (.642) to hit the way they are capable of as well.

“We’ve been engaged with the other clubs for the last six weeks now,” Hurdle said. “There is no traction anywhere. With each passing week I think we’re getting closer to a spot where teams are starting to evaluate their own roster and decide is it sooner, or is it later? But it’s challenging. It’s always going to be a challenge. The hard part is we’re not the only club looking for specific things. There’s a lot of people in the same situation as they prioritize needs.”

What’s making trades that much more tough this season is the extra wild card in each league. More teams are still in the hunt, and aren’t ready to sell their impact players and throw in their towel for 2012 just yet.

“The second wild card in each league has made that many more teams actually to remain engaged,” Huntington said. “What St. Louis and Tampa did a year ago has made that many more teams philologically remained engaged. We were one of the few early sellers a couple years ago and there was a price to be paid for that. We’ve been told by some clubs that they’re going to hold on as long as they can to try to sell tickets, to try to keep their fans engaged so that might take an obvious seller off the market or multiple sellers off the market. You can’t blame them. You can’t fault them for trying to stay in it, and who knows maybe they have a dramatic turn around, they hit a soft spot in their schedule, they win 10 in a row and they’re back in it. It’s an exciting time to be in baseball. There’s a lot of parity with no one really running away from the pack. A lot of divisions are up for grabs.”

Hurdle also mentioned how the new wild card has changed the dynamic at the trade deadline all together. Teams staying in the hunt pushes the trade talk back.

“It keeps a lot more clubs involved so I think it pushes things back because teams are getting a longer look to see if they’re buyers or sellers,” Hurdle said.

“Every team has different ways to statistically put an analysis program together and what their chances are, probability of playoffs, being in the hunt, where they’re going to finish just so they can make good sound baseball decisions moving forward…I think every team, once they get into to that 50 game mark, you’re a third of the season in almost, you start looking more realistically at who you are, what you are, what your needs might be and you look for matches.”

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Exploring the Arsenal – Scott Diamond

Next Story »

Exploring the Arsenal – Francisco Liriano

  • Mike

    Pirates huge weak spot is the leadoff spot. Alex Presley is not that guy he has taken steps back defensively (other in cleveland when he misplayed the ball in left allowing 2 runs to score) Denard Span is the man the pirates should be looking at when you can put .280 / .350 to .360 obp in the 1 slot of the order it helps 2 thru 4. Then the next weakest spot is probably the backend of the rotation – bedard, correia and lincoln(who belongs in the pen) have been awful.

    • Lee Young

      They may already be looking at him. As might a whole lotta other teams.

      • Brian

        I doubt the Twins would trade Span but he’d certainly look nice in that leadoff spot for us.

    • PiratesFan

      What about a SS, a 1B who has power against righties and lefties, a corner outfielder with some power, and possibly a 3B like Headly?

  • PiratesFan

    Saunders is decent, but we should not be in the market for pitchers unless we get him for almost nothing. We need to use whatever trade chips we have to acquire some offense.

  • st1300b

    I’m not interested in giving up prospects for Span when Presley is right there… no thanks, besides if Presley is a 4th outfielder then the 3rd outfielder will be Marte which could happen in the next couple months and I’m not blocking that kid.

Latest Analysis

  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 hours ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    1 day ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    2 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    4 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    5 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    6 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    2 weeks ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles