Pittsburgh Pirates: Notes as the Trade Deadline Approaches

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is about a month away and the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking like they will be sellers this year on August first.

For those who used to follow me on Clemente’s Wall you will know what I am talking about.  Over the last few years I have made connections with a few scouts and front office people around the league.  These scouts are reliable and will share information with me as they come across it.  With that being said one in particular has sent me some information on the upcoming trade deadline:

One this year’s deadline:

"If the Pirates continue to play .500 ball, but they seem to be out they will deal their pending Free Agents. Melancon would be high demand as playoff teams always want to deepen their pen.  Giants and Rangers would be most logical teams, however hearing the Astros would be interested in a reunion with him.  Joyce, Freese, Feliz would be available to, as teams look for role players and fill in for injured players, Mets, Tigers, Giants, Jays, Red Soxs, etc."

On Melancon:  The Giants are a team who are having trouble late in games. Casilla is having an okay year, but they could use help in either the 8th inning or to replace Casilla.  Melancon seems to be the type of player that the Giants like to deal for.  He is a low-key, reliable arm in the bullpen who does not get all of the press he deserves.

On the other pending free agents:  Joyce would be perfect for a team looking for a corner outfielder with some pop, a team that wants to lengthen their bench, or a team that has sustained an injury and needs a stop-gap until the player returns. Teams such as Detroit or San Francisco could look at Joyce. The same can be said for Freese for teams looking for third base help.  Could the Mets be a fit for Freese as they look to replace Wright?  Feliz is in a similar situation as Melancon except does not have the recent track record that would make him high demand.  Still a team looking for an extra 7th or 8th innings arm could look at him.  A team that comes to mind for him would be the Blue Jays. 

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On what types of player the Pittsburgh Pirates may target if they sell:

"If the Pirates do trade away pending assets at the deadline do not look for young prospects coming back in return.  Rather MLB players who are young and controlled.  Maybe players blocked on their current teams or a player who needs a change of scenery.   The Pirates will not “rebuild”, but rather get players for a run next season."

This is seen every year.  The Cubs made a deal in the off-season when they moved Starlin Castro to the Yankees because he needed a change of scenery, or when the Mets dealt Niese being he was blocked by the Mets young pitching talent.  Another option could be to gather some potential bullpen arms for next season.

On if the Pirates turn things around and climb their way back into the race:

"If the Pirates are in it, look for them to start moving some prospects.  They are starting to build up a log jam of prospects in their upper minors"

I assume he is talking about prospects such as Harold Ramirez and Alen Hanson.  Austin Meadows could be on that list, but he most likely is untouchable.  Ramirez is a top 100 prospect who is having another strong season, this year at the AA level.  Hanson, a former top 100 prospect, is blocked by Harrison at second base and likely would be more valuable in a trade rather than keeping in AAA.

Another Note: John Paul Morosi reported that the Orioles have interest in Francisco Liriano. He is having a down season, but teams may still be looking at him as an upside addition due to his recent track record.

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I cannot provide the name of my source for obvious reasons.  As I have said before he/they have proven to be reliable in the past. Some things he filled me in on before: The signings or Corey Hart, Alvarez trade rumors to Miami (which ended up being reported), and the Pirates looking at JA Happ last year. Take it for what it is, but the rumor mill is starting and these are definitely some areas to pay attention to over the next few weeks.