Thursday Trade Rumors: Middle of the Order Bat, Quentin, Stephen Drew

Here are the latest trade rumors, with any additional rumors being added to the bottom throughout the day.

**Jim Bowden reports that the Pirates are aggressively trying to land a middle of the order bat. He also notes that Neal Huntington’s first choice is Justin Upton, but says that Huntington would have to deal Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon, plus Starling Marte, to get a deal done.

**One middle of the order bat the Pirates have been linked to is Carlos Quentin. But Quentin might not be on the market. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com says that the Padres could keep Quentin and try to re-sign him this winter. That’s a move that doesn’t make much sense. We saw the Chicago Cubs take the same route last year with Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs didn’t re-sign either player. They ended up getting one compensation pick each for Pena and Ramirez, although that will be a lot harder for Quentin under the new rules. The strategy doesn’t make sense for the Padres, since trading Quentin wouldn’t hurt their chances of re-signing him in the off-season.

**Ken Rosenthal reports that Stephen Drew has been drawing interest, and names the Pirates as one of the teams interested. Drew recently returned from an ankle injury, and is hitting for a .192/.246/.250 line in 52 at-bats. He has a mutual option at the end of the year for $10 M, although it seems unlikely that any team would exercise that deal.

**Buster Olney reports that the Pirates have had no conversations with Arizona about Drew.

**I just did a quick “Trade Values” on Drew. If dealt on July 31st, he would be owed $2.75 M this year, and $1.35 M next year for his buyout. If we consider him a 1.9 WAR player over a full season (which could be very optimistic, considering his numbers this year, although that’s what he was last year), then he has a trade value of -$0.7 M. Arizona would have to pick up about $2 M in salary just to get a Grade C prospect in return. Even with that, I’m not sure Drew would be a good fit. Clint Barmes has struggled with the bat, but has been strong defensively. Drew wouldn’t provide a guaranteed upgrade with the bat. The Pirates would be better off spending their money elsewhere.

**Jon Morosi says that the Pirates remain involved in the Justin Upton market, and that he is at or near the top of their wish list for hitters.

**According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the Pirates and Royals are interested in Paul Maholm. The Cubs signed Maholm to a one year, $4.75 M deal with a $6.5 M option in 2013. The option includes a $500 K buyout. Maholm currently has a 4.09 ERA in 105.2 innings with the Cubs, along with a 5.9 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9. In his career he’s pitched well at PNC Park, putting up a 3.79 ERA in 626.1 innings. Part of that is probably the standard home field advantage, but Maholm fits PNC Park well as a left hander with a strong ground ball ratio. I’m not sure why the Pirates would go for him with three major league ready left handers currently in Triple-A. My only guess would be that Maholm has plenty of experience, which would be a benefit with the Pirates in contention.

**Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Pirates and the Orioles are among the teams pushing hardest for San Diego third baseman Chase Headley. Center says that the Padres could get at least two top prospects in return for Headley.

**Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Pirates have expressed interest in Marco Scutaro. He also notes that Detroit and Texas are interested. Scutaro would be owed $2.1 M at the trade deadline. He’s currently hitting for a .275/.329/.367 line, although his defense isn’t as strong as what the Pirates are getting out of Clint Barmes. Scutaro’s offense would probably make up for the lost defense. He has a $0.8 M trade value, which would amount to a Grade C prospect.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Dimmick/100000318490900 Steve Dimmick

    what about Kendry Morales? He was considered trade bait in the offseason and his name has come up recently. Lefthander would fit well at PNC.

    • coachL

      I’d like to see that. He hasn’t seen everyday playing time and maybe could pick it up a bit if he did. Can he play in the outfield? I know he has usually been DH/1b.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Dimmick/100000318490900 Steve Dimmick

        i would also rather have Parra from the D-backs, he’s stuck behind Chris Young, not sure why and Upton and Kubel. He brings speed and i think will develope power and he’s young.

        • AlvarezRiverBall

          So we’d have Parra, Tabata and Presley fighting to be the same player? Really dude?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Dimmick/100000318490900 Steve Dimmick

            Parra is better than Presley and Tabata, he would start over them, seriously dude!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

    If the Pirates do land a middle of the order kind of guy, what is the possibility of moving Walker up the leadoff spot? I mean, primarily I think Walker is an ideal #2 hitter, however, given the terrible numbers from guys that have been in that spot in the lineup, is it an idea worth tossing around?

    Hopefully Presley just steps up in the second half and can perform in that spot.

    • http://www.facebook.com/douglas.byrd.7 Douglas Byrd

      Or, just bring up Marte! He projects as a good leadoff hitter with his speed. Not perfect, but better than other options.

      • scrappy2499

        Marte is still not ready. Way to many ups and downs (currently 0 for 8, 3 K’s over last two games)…Needs to work on the walk to strikeout problem a bit more also.

        • http://twitter.com/HathawayKen Ken Hathaway

          Isnt this more a case of NH looking to move Marte and doesnt want to call him up until that is decided one way or the other?

          • Ron Baraff

            My thoughts exactly. Folks have been clamoring for his promotion, but I don’t think that Huntington wants to risk Marte failings on big league level and reducing his trade value. I assume that the same can be said for the AAA pitchers.

        • IC Bob

          We have got to get away from judging a player on such short terms (2 games). You mention walk to strike out ratio. I though Vlad Guerrero was pretty good and he swung at everything from head to toe. Their is nothing wrong with letting a kid learn at the major league level if he is better now then anything you have in front of him. If you bring Marte up the pitchers will thank you. If you bring Marte up the team will understa
          nd your putting your best on the field. If he struggles send him back down. Many a major leaguer has had to go back to the minors before they got it.

          • scrappy2499

            I was just mentioning the last two games, he has been doing this thing this year will he plays 4 to 5 good games then 4 to 5 just as bad ones…I would like to see him get more consistant before coming up that’s all I’m saying. When he’s on he is on in a big way. The team doesn’t need any more of the could streaks coming up right now while they are playing good.

            • IC Bob

              I understand but their are only a handful of players that are consistent in the bigs. The kid needs to play and I really believe it harms a kid to sit their and rot at AAA when their are inferior guys up their playing everyday. Will he be a star right away? I doubt it. Barry Bonds batted 240 his first year. I think the expectations heaped on this kid only grows the more he stays down. Lets get him up and let him start catching balls Sutton lets drop (I actually really like Sutton just not everyday in the outfield).

      • http://twitter.com/millec311 Chris M

        Speed isn’t enough to be a good leadoff hitter. He doesn’t walk enough.

      • AlvarezRiverBall

        Too many strikeouts and not enough walks are his concerns, What’s your idea of a good leadoff hitter? Also not enough steals for supposedly having plus speed.

        • http://twitter.com/hoosierIUdaddy Chris O’Rorke

          Alen Hanson is my idea of an ideal leadoff hitter and that is why he needs to be part of nucleus in trade for Upton

          • AlvarezRiverBall

            Good. He has 3 months of successful low A ball performance and he’s 4 years from Pittsburgh. No disrespect to him but he shouldn’t be a barrier to completing an Upton trade.

          • AlvarezRiverBall

            Jimmy Rollins is my ideal leadoff hitter

            • F Lang

              Jimmy Rollins has a career .328 obp but it’s well lower than that over the last 4 years. He does get himself into scoring position a lot with good pop and speed which offsets that a little. I see him as a #2 hitter…which we also could use. Plus he is a big upgrade from Barmes offensively. He is still owed 33 mil so forget him. He is declining and I don’t want a SS with all that guaranteed money that is pushing 35. His WAR and defense is slipping and he is about to become just an average guy soon. I wouldn’t be shopping guys if I was the Phillies anyways. They are getting healthy and are bound to rip off a 15-5 streak at any time.

              • AlvarezRiverBall

                I meant I want a jimmy Rollins type of leadoff hitter. Speed, power, jump starts an offense. I did not mean the Pirates should trade for mean the pirates should trade for Jimmy Rollins. And no, a 2 hitter moves the ball around, bunts, takes pitches so the leadoff hitter can try to steal and doesn’t strike out much. Placido Polanco in his prime was the ideal 2 hitter. Not Jimmy Rollins who was a 20 hr, 30 double, 10 triple, 25 steal threat.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Dimmick/100000318490900 Steve Dimmick

                  say Victorino? getting old, but i think he could be that leadoff guy down the stretch with experience.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

          I agree that Marte doesn’t really project as a lead off hitter. Maybe a number two, thinking about it, it actually seems a little confusing to imagine where he’d best project. I’m not sure if he’ll ever be an ideal lead off man.

          And stealing is more of an art than I think some people want to admit, if he has the speed then there’s a better chance at him learning how to do it, than some player that knows how and doesn’t have the speed to match.

  • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

    I’m betting the Padres resigning Quentin rumor was leaked out by the Padres in an attempt to get a sweeter offer from other clubs.

    • John DiVito

      I really think Neal should be focusing on Quentin. He is perfect for our lineup. We need a power bat that hits righties better than lefties and won’t cost us our top prospects. That is Quentin.

  • http://twitter.com/_steve13 Stephen Stasa

    Why are the Pirates so high on Upton? I wonder if maybe he’s not a distraction from going after Jason Kubel (I hope). He typically bats 4th, has 17 HRs and is batting .295 (.918 OPS). He’s a lefty so the bigger left field of PNC won’t be nearly as much of a factor (if at all) and he is slugging .913 (yes, slugging, not OPS) when he pulls the ball. If the Diamondbacks aren’t willing to trade him (signed through 2014 at $7.5M/year, with $1M buyout in 2014) then it makes me seriously worried about why they’re talking about trading Upton. If they’re not selling (yet), then they should want Upton as much as the Pirates do. If they want him for the future, well, Upton is 24 and Kubel is 30. Upton should be more important to their long-term goals. Granted his contract is nearly double, but I hardly see that as enough of a reason to listen on Upton but not Kubel.

    • http://twitter.com/millec311 Chris M

      Yeah I do not want upton. The price will be too high, and his CAREER OPS outside of chase field is like .725… nothing special

    • John DiVito

      Would not be surprised if the Upton rumors are all talk to show that the Pirates are going to be players this year.

    • PiratesFan

      Because he’s an excellent player and is 24. He’s under team control for a long time.

      • KingCobra

        He’s under control for 2 more years, will cost a fortune in terms of players to acquire and money, he is seemingly ordinary outside of Arizona, has put together one solid season, has horrible home/road splits, appears to have some sort of attitude problem, may have a nagging shoulder injury to which no one truly knows the extent and has enraged the fan base and Arizona management all before turning 25 years old. Besides those things, yes he is an excellent player.

    • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

      My guess is that the FO is looking at all options to upgrade the offense. Doesn’t mean they will swing a deal for Upton.

  • jdt2x jdt2x

    why not billy butler?

  • coachL

    Stephen drew would be an interesting option. He should not cost a whole lot either. I wonder if he has any position versatility. I know Barmes is not hitting very well, but he plays some excellent defense over there at SS. Like we haven’t seen since Jack Wilson left. Now, if we could get Upton and Drew together in one package, I think NH might have to consider sending Taillon or Cole in that deal. I think I would still try to hang onto Marte though, but in this deal, might have to include him.

  • http://twitter.com/joshuabobby Josh Burns

    I keep hearing that it’s a sellers market, but I’m not sure that’s true if you’re looking for a corner OF spot… seems like a lot of solid and cheap names on the market… Quentin, Kubel, Morales, Victorino that would be better fits than Upton right now.

  • AlvarezRiverBall

    The Pirates are leaving Marte, Owens and Locke in AAA because they have more trade value doing well and possibly catching a hot streak right at the deadline in AAA rather than taking a chance they may play poorly over a few weeks in the bigs.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_46YTB5OO4O7UM2OVB44UZSTXNA Nate

      You couldn’t be more correct, sir.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_46YTB5OO4O7UM2OVB44UZSTXNA Nate

      I’m ALL for buying low on Drew, and going after Quentin, Morales, or Willingham. None of those guys would cost the farm. In the cases of Drew and Quentin, you’re looking at (mostly) taking on $$$.

    • Matt Beam

      absolutely agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominic.johns.10 Dominic Johns

    I am not a fan of trading for Upton. He is a mental midget plus, like people have said, his bat is sub par away from Arizona. I like the idea of a middle bat over trading for Upton. I think Willingham is a great fit because of his contract and since his cost will be down. Unfortunately, recently I have heard the Twins have taken him off the market. Marte is not as incredible a prospect as many believe. That is why I believe he has not been called up yet. Like many have said, NH is trying to keep his value up and bringing him up may show his flaws at the plate. I am hoping we sit tight and see what we can do this season without trading.

    • maguro

      A mental midget, really? What makes you say that?

  • wtmiller

    “Drew wouldn’t provide a guaranteed upgrade with the bat.”

    Well, he could get run over by a truck or abducted by aliens, but short of that, he’d be as close to a guarantee as you get in baseball.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      He’s got a .496 OPS right now. Barmes is at .521.

      • wtmiller

        He’s got a .496 OPS in his first 52 ABs after being out for a year. I think that tells us just about nothing.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

          Exactly my point. He was out for a year, and now he’s struggling. There’s no guarantee that he rebounds this year. How long will it take him to really get back on track? Is he fully healthy? Those are the questions I’d want answers to before spending a few million to upgrade the number eight hitter in the lineup.

          • wtmiller

            I assume they’d do a physical this time.

            • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

              Hah, hopefully so.

  • PiratesFan

    I’d rather go for Escobar or Infante than Drew.

    • Kevin_Creagh

      Yunel Escobar is a clubhouse problem. He was hated in ATL and has worn out his welcome in TOR. Two thumbs down.

  • James S

    If you like guys who are always injured and can’t play 3 days in a row without a hangnail taking them out of the line-up, then sure, by all means go after Stephen Drew and Carlos Quentin.

  • Matt Beam

    If you were NH, would you trade Marte for Willingham straight up?

    Also, I hope they can get an experienced, low cost SP rental, like Bartolo Colon, to guard against injury or one of the current SP’s hitting the wall… SP hasn’t been nearly as effective the last month but the offense hitting on all cylinders has made it much less obvious, can’t assume the current homer binge will continue for the next 2.5 months

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740167494 Mike Adamson

    The Pirates seem like they have no clue what they are after and just want to make a trade at this point. They are in on everyone and whoever takes the least that will be the move.
    I would rather they just decide who they want then go after them. If it’s Headley or Upton then go get him. If it’s pitching then fine but being involved in everything makes the Pirates look silly to me.

    • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

      They know what they’re after. They want a proven bat and and arm, but they can’t put their eggs in one basket. They’re not the only team looking for help.

    • http://twitter.com/Bjoint24 Brandon Joint

      you have to remember that these are all just rumors, no one really knows what or who their going after except the front office

  • http://www.facebook.com/timpj5 Tim Fort

    I want Dempster… Willingham or Kubel.