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.