Here are the Pirates trade rumors for Thursday:
–Jayson Stark has a big list of updates on ESPN about the Pirates. He mentions that the Pirates have said their number one focus is finding a “professional hitter”, per a club official that has been speaking with the Pirates. Stark adds that they seem to have backed off of Carlos Pena, and that they are lukewarm on Josh Willingham and B.J. Upton. He does mention that they have eyes on Jason Kubel, an outfielder with the Minnesota Twins.
Kubel is under control through the remainder of the season, making $5.25 M this year. He hit over 20 homers in each of the last three seasons, and has six homers this year, along with a .314/.365/.471 line in 223 at-bats. He’s missed some time with injuries, but is back now playing with the Twins. In his career, Kubel is a .275/.338/.464 hitter in 2416 at-bats. The Twins are 49-55, but they are also six games out of the AL Central, so they aren’t really a guarantee to be sellers. At the same time, they have outfield depth, with Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, and Denard Span soon to be returning.
Kubel profiles as a Type B free agent, which means he would net the Pirates a compensation pick in the 2012 draft. He has a trade value of $5 M, which would be worth two young Grade C pitchers, or a Grade B hitter, if the Twins wanted a top prospect in return.
–Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that the Pirates are one of the teams interested in Jamey Carroll, although the Indians and Brewers seem to be the top suitors for the Dodgers’ infielder. Carroll has a .291/.362/.356 line this year in 306 at-bats.