The Pirates have never been considered buyers for any of the five trade deadlines MLBTR has covered, and in fact less than two percent of the United States population had Internet access the last time they made the playoffs. So, I'm excited to have a new contender to discuss this year.
The Pirates are currently in third place in the NL Central, just one game back of the Brewers and Cardinals with 44% of their season remaining. They rank tenth out of 16 NL teams with 3.93 runs scored per game. The Bucs are tenth in OBP and 14th in SLG. They've got position players Jose Tabata, Ryan Doumit, Ronny Cedeno, and Chris Snyder on the DL, with Snyder's return a ways off. How can GM Neal Huntington improve this offense?
- Catcher: Counting on Doumit or Snyder seems unwise. The Pirates could look into the same names I mentioned in the Rays post: Chris Iannetta, Ronny Paulino, and Geovany Soto. The Reds would have to fall out of contention and be willing to deal with a division rival for Ramon Hernandez to enter the picture, so that's a long shot, as is Soto.
- First base: Lyle Overbay has not gotten the job done, and I've explained why Carlos Pena would be a good match for Pittsburgh. Derrek Lee, James Loney, and Brad Hawpe could be had, but they've been worse than Overbay. Chris Davis would be a nice addition for the longer-term, but he'd be harder to obtain.
- Shortstop: The Pirates have been looking for a long-term answer at short for a while now. If the team believes in Rafael Furcal's health, they could take a little salary off the Dodgers' hands for a possible short-term fix.
- Third base: Pedro Alvarez is trying to get on track at Triple-A after a rough start and an injury layoff, and getting him back would be the best solution. Josh Harrison and Brandon Wood haven't had success in his absence. The trade market might feature Mark Reynolds, Wilson Betemit, Casey Blake (when healthy), Mark Teahen, Mike Aviles, Ian Stewart, Davis, and Aramis Ramirez if he changes his mind about approving a trade.
- Outfield corners: There's some room for improvement, but the Pirates probably don't consider this an urgent need.
The Pirates rank fifth in the NL with a 3.62 rotation ERA, getting it done with Paul Maholm, Kevin Correia, James McDonald, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Karstens. Four of them carry ERAs of 4.01 or below, though SIERA shows that most of the starters belong in the mid-4.00s. While it's easy to suggest the Pirates need better starting pitching, it'd be tough for Huntington to replace guys who have gotten good results so far. The Pirates' bullpen has been strong, so I wouldn't expect a major change there either.