Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill – the calm before the storm


Welcome to yet another addition of the Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill, where we give you a weekly breakdown of all of the trade rumors, signings, promotions, demotions, and injury updates from around the Pirate organization. With the non-waiver trade deadline only 15 days away, there are a ton of rumors floating out there concerning the Pirates and all teams around baseball. This period is what I like to call the calm before the storm, and moves should start to be made once game action resumes on Friday. On this edition of the Rumor Mill, we discuss recent comments made by General Manager Neal Huntington concerning the trade market, we take a look at some players that the Pirates have scouted, and so much more!

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Neal Huntington comments on trade market

Neal Huntington recently spoke with reporter Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and he had some very interesting comments to say about the current trade market (you can read the full column here). Here’s what he had to say about sellers changing their focus from prospects to major league ready talent:

"“It’s a seller’s market, so there are fewer teams that are looking to trade established major league players for prospects,” Huntington said. “The impatience of the industry. The expectation that you can turn an organization around in a year. Rather than (targeting) the best prospect in the system that may be in A-ball, teams are starting to look for the guy in Triple-A that might have an impact in a year or two.”"

Huntington described the market as an “extreme” seller’s market. About the potential for a deal to be made in this kind of market, Huntington goes on to say:

"“It doesn’t mean deals won’t be made. It doesn’t mean we won’t be in the middle of things,” Huntington said. “(But) we’re in a good spot. There is not a glaring hole where we may vastly have to overpay. … At the same time, we want to help this club. This club has worked hard to make itself a playoff contender.”"

These comments make sense coming from Huntington. He’s always been a careful GM when it comes to making deals, and the Pirates definitely don’t have one major spot that they would need to overpay for, and that’s a good thing. It’ll be interesting to see if Huntington finally pulls the trigger on the kind of big deal that he’s been linked to in the past.

Josh Harrison’s injury could impact how the Pirates do business ahead of deadline

Tom Singer, Pirates’ reporter for MLB.com, notes that the recent injury to Josh Harrison could lead to the Pirates’ being aggressive as the trade deadline approaches.

Then again, this tweet was sent out before the Pirates took three of four from the St. Louis Cardinals. But the loss of Harrison is definitely a big blow to the team. Fortunately, it’s also an opportunity for Jung Ho Kang to show if he’s a capable starter at the major league level. He’s definitely shown that he can do that as of late.

Pirates have scouted Dan Haren

In a recent column by Nick Cafardo, national baseball writer for The Boston Globe, the Pirates are mentioned as a team that has scouted right-handed veteran pitcher Dan Haren of the Miami Marlins (you can read the full column here). Haren, who only wanted to pitch for a select few teams at the beginning of the season, apparently has accepted the fact that he might get traded. At the All-Star break, Haren is 7-5 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, and is a guy who can give a team six innings and two to three-run ball. He’d be an upgrade over Jeff Locke, who has struggled all season long to find consistency. Haren, who currently has a 1.8 WAR, has proven to be a very good pitcher in the past. He may not cost much and would give the Pirates good pitching depth and a deeper crop of quality starting pitchers. I could see Huntington targeting a low-cost upgrade like Haren at the deadline.

Pirates looking at outfield options

Jon Heyman, baseball writer for CBSSports.com, notes that the Pirates are one of the teams that is looking for outfield help. This makes sense, considering the losses of Andrew Lambo, Corey Hart, and Josh Harrison this season to the disabled list, as well as the poor play of Steve Lombardozzi. Outfield depth is never a problem for a contender, and is one area that the Pirates should target come deadline time.

Eric Hagman, reporter for 93.7 The Fan and NewsRadio 1020 KDKA, notes that the Pirates have been looking at Jeff Francoeur and Marlon Byrd as outfield options. Francoeur has been a poor player this season, with just a .245 average, but he can play all the outfield positions and would add major league depth. Marlon Byrd has been a little better when taking into account his 14 home runs and 32 RBIs, and he’s been a proven performer in Pittsburgh in the past. But a trade for Byrd might relegate Polanco to the bench, or vice versa, and neither would be ideal for either player.

Are Jeff Francoeur and Ben Revere trade options for the Pirates?

The biggest news this week came from Rob Biertempfel, Pirates beat writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who noted that the Pirates have spoken to the Phillies about Jeff Francoeur and Ben Revere, both outfielders. Jon Morosi, reporter for Fox Sports, also said the same thing.

We broke this news down in a recent bonus edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill, so make sure to check that out here!

The Reds may officially be sellers

In another area of the division, Buster Olney tweets that the Cincinnati Reds have had outfielder Jay Bruce on the trade block for a while. We’ve broken down Bruce as an option for the Pirates before, and you can check that out here!

Pirates recall RHP Wilfredo Boscan

In minor news, the Pirates recently recalled RHP Wilfredo Boscan before their game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night.

This move made sense considering that Pittsburgh had just come off of a 14-inning game the night before. As a starter in Triple-A this season, Boscan had a 3.87 ERA across 15 starts. He didn’t get to pitch in the game on Sunday night, and was sent back down to Triple-A the following day. A corresponding roster move will be made on Friday.

Clay Buchholz injured?

Clay Buchholz was a pitcher that the Pirates had recently scouted this summer, as he is currently 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. He’s an inconsistent pitcher, and has pitched like an ace in the past, but also like a fourth of fifth starter. We broke down Buchholz as an option for the Pirates here.

Unfortunately, Buchholz was recently placed on the disabled list with a flexor strain (according to ESPN), but he may come off of the DL before the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see if he still remains on the radar for the Pirates with this recent news.

This has been another edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill, so thanks for tuning in! We break down the latest trade rumors, signings, and other news and notes from around the Pirates’ organization every week, so make sure to keep tuning in. There’s only 15 days until the non-waiver trade deadline, so it’s an exciting time of the year to be a Pirates’ fan.

Next: Three keys for Gregoy Polanco in the second half