If The Pirates Become Sellers

The Pirates haven't finished above .500 since 1992, back when Jose Tabata was a toddler.  They've lost six in a row, so that goal may be slipping out of reach for 2011.  If GM Neal Huntington decides to trade veterans for prospects, as he has many times before, who might be available?

  • Catcher Chris Snyder is earning $5.75MM this year and has a $750K buyout due after the season.  Ryan Doumit is at $5.1MM with a $500K buyout coming.  The D'Backs picked up part of the tab on Snyder, some of which the Pirates might have to send along to another team if they wish to move him again.  I think Doumit will continue to be the catcher they prefer to trade, and he is healthy and hitting currently.  Of course, Doumit hasn't caught 800 innings in a season since '08.
  • Southpaw Paul Maholm has a reasonable $5.75MM salary, plus a $750K buyout after the season if his option is declined.  The groundballer owns a solid 3.67 ERA through nine starts, six of them quality.  If he keeps up the good work it'll take more than salary relief to acquire him, though as ESPN's Buster Olney notes, he's a guy who "might not be suited to go head-to-head with teams in the AL East."
  • First baseman Lyle Overbay might be best-served as a platoon bat.  Another impending free agent, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, has been showing signs of life in May.  The pair make about $7MM this year, and trading them would be about unloading some salary. 
  • Another position player, Garrett Jones, projects to be arbitration eligible after the season as a Super Two.  He has a .281/.363/.496 career line against righties, which would be helpful to teams such as the Dodgers, Athletics, Phillies, and Tigers.  Between his low salary, years of control, and ability to help as a platoon bat, Jones has trade value.
  • Kevin Correia and Matt Diaz were perhaps the headliners in the Pirates' offseason, signing two-year free agent deals.  Correia could be dealt for something useful in theory, though his 4.87 SIERA is more representative than his 3.97 ERA if his peripherals don't improve.
  • The Pirates' bullpen has a solid 3.34 ERA, though that's only good for 10th in the NL.  Potential targets: closer Joel Hanrahan, lefty Joe Beimel, and righties Jose Veras and Chris Resop.  Veras and Resop are tied for fifth in the league in relief strikeouts with 26 each, and Veras' K/9 ranks fourth in the league.  Hanrahan's strikeout rate has oddly dropped, but groundballs are way up, walks are down, he's throwing harder, and he's 11 for 11 in save opportunities.  He's earning $1.4MM this year and is under team control through 2013.  July might be the time to sell high and maximize his value.
  • We've previously tackled the Diamondbacks, Twins, and Astros as potential sellers, so check out those posts.


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