Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors

Teams Showing Interest In Marlon Byrd

12:48pm: There are suitors for Byrd but right now, but no one seems to be willing to meet the Mets' asking price, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.  Meanwhile, Byrd is the only Mets player that has come up in trade conversations (Twitter link).

Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) notes that the Reds were kicking the tires on Byrd at one point but have since backed off.

12:28pm: While things were quiet on the Marlon Byrd front, the Mets are suddenly getting hits on the veteran, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).  The Mets have made counteroffers to clubs and are waiting to see if anyone budges.  The Pirates are believed to be among the teams interested in Byrd.

Earlier this week we heard that the Orioles also had some interest in Byrd, but the Mets were unlikely to move him unless they were really blown away by an offer.  This morning, the Mets were contending that they still weren't planning to make any moves, but things might have changed this afternoon.

Alex Rios Rumors: Wednesday

White Sox right fielder Alex Rios is guaranteed almost $18MM through next year.  The latest trade rumors:

  • The White Sox would like to move Rios today, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark, but it doesn't look promising.  The Rangers and Pirates have no more than lukewarm interest, he adds.
  • Rios was watched by a Pirates scout last night, notes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  The White Sox have scouted the Pirates' farm system thoroughly, he says.  Rios left the game in the eighth inning after fouling a pitch off his foot, but the bruise appears minor.

Bud Norris Rumors: Tuesday

28-year-old Astros starter Bud Norris was scratched from his start in Baltimore today amid swirling trade rumors.  The righty is under team control through 2015.  The latest:

Earlier Updates

  • In addition to the Orioles and Pirates, the Diamondbacks are also in the mix for Norris, according to McTaggart (on Twitter). The D'Backs are also said to be hot after Jake Peavy, though I imagine they're only interested in adding one of the two arms.
  • Astros manager Bo Porter told reporters, including Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that trade talkes regarding Norris have "gotten deeper." Norris will start for Houston tomorrow if he isn't traded, adds McTaggart (Twitter links).
  • The Orioles have yet to make an offer on Norris, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  They appear to have interest in the Angels' Jason Vargas, more of an August trade candidate after he recovers from a blood clot in his left armpit.
  • Three teams are hard after Norris, reports McTaggart, including the Orioles, though no deal is imminent.
  • Norris is very likely to be traded today, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, and Pittsburgh could be his landing spot.  He adds that the Pirates won't trade center field Gregory Polanco for Norris, but the Astros do like righty Tyler Glasnow.  Passan goes on to write that other teams are still in on Norris, and one executive says the Astros are motivated to move him.
  • Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle says that while Norris hasn't been informed he's been traded, all signs point to a deal by the deadline.  In contrast, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports hears the Astros have no trade close with anyone as of now.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Cubs Notes: Schierholtz, Russell, Gregg, Villanueva

The Cubs have plenty of trade chips remaining, but time is running out to deal them as tomorrow's 4pm ET deadline looms. Here's the latest...

  • The Pirates remain interested in Nate Schierholtz, writes Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Concerns surrounding his shoulder cause the Bucs to switch gears to Alex Rios a few weeks back, but Schierholtz has demonstrated his health with strong play of late. Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that Schierholtz is likely to be traded.
  • Levine also reports that James Russell was nearly acquired by the Braves last week, and he's now drawing interest from the Reds. The Braves have since acquired Scott Downs to fill the left-handed void in their bullpen.  Russell had a rough outing in the first game of today's doubleheader, allowing a three-run home run to Khris Davis plus two other hits and a free pass.
  • Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg are the two Cubs most likely to be dealt prior to tomorrow's deadline, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Time reports. The Pirates and Tigers are scouting the Cubs' series with the Brewers, with the Bucs looking for outfield help and the Tigers on the hunt for bullpen help.
  • The Blue Jays have also been scouting the Cubs for the past week, according to Wittenmyer, but that's likely because they're looking to add pieces for 2014.
  • Wittenmyer adds that Carlos Villanueva isn't likely to be traded, as the Cubs value his versatility and cheap contract as they look to shuffle the roster again in 2014.

The Latest On Alex Rios

9:05pm: The White Sox announced that Rios has a contusion on his left foot and will receive cautionary x-rays, but the injury doesn't sound to be serious.

8:19pm: Rios left tonight's game after fouling a ball off his foot. He received medical attention and was able to walk off the field slowly under his own power.

6:16pm: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees aren't interested in Rios having already acquired Alfonso Soriano with Curtis Granderson on the mend.

6:11pm: The Pirates' interest in Rios is losing steam, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.

3:27pm: The Yankees have renewed interest in Rios, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin, though he'd have to approve a trade.  On Friday, Rios bristled at the suggestion he'd rejected potential a deal to the Yanks.

1:54pm: A deal with the Pirates is not close at this time, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears the same.

12:25pm: It sounds like the White Sox and Pirates are getting close on a deal for right fielder Alex Rios, tweets David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com.  He notes that the cash is being worked on, and he's not sure if the two clubs can find middle ground.  Rios will be owed over $18MM through 2014 if traded.  If the White Sox cover a substantial part of that, Rios could be coming to the Pirates, tweets MLB.com's Tom Singer.

Dodgers In Lead For Brian Wilson

TUESDAY, 10:17am: The Dodgers are now the front runner to sign Wilson, tweets Nightengale.

MONDAY, 9:24pm: ESPN's Jim Bowden lists the Giants, Pirates and Dodgers as front-runners for Wilson (on Twitter).

8:58pm: Wilson has narrowed his decision to three or four teams and is in the "offer/counter-offer" stage at this point, Miller tweets.

7:10pm: The Pirates and Giants are both "serious suitors" for Wilson, who appears close to signing soon, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Miller adds that the Diamondbacks and Dodgers have some level of interest as well, and he notes that Wilson "has an affinity for Los Angeles." The Phillies were also thought to have interest prior to the six-game skid that has pushed them firmly into their stance as sellers.

3:52pm: The D'Backs are not in on Wilson, tweets John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR.

2:52pm: The Pirates and Diamondbacks are the strong front runners for free agent reliever Brian Wilson, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who notes that Wilson has offers from four NL teams and one AL club.  Yesterday, Yahoo's Tim Brown noted interest from the same mix of five teams.

Wilson, 31, auditioned for teams Thursday with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Athletics, Giants, Phillies, Rangers, Rockies and Cardinals in attendance.  The former Giants closer had Tommy John surgery in April 2012.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Royals, Hanson, Tigers, Cardinals

The Royals will not be sellers at the deadline, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan tweets. The Royals are still seven games back in the AL Central, but they've won six games in a row. Passan indicates that if the Royals deal pitchers Ervin Santana or Luke Hochevar, they would want to receive players who can help immediately. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.

  • The removal of Pirates infield prospect Alen Hanson from a game with Class A+ Bradenton Sunday triggered speculation that Hanson had been traded, but Hanson's agency, LA Sports Management, tweets that Hanson had simply been promoted to Double-A Altoona. It does not appear, then, that a trade is imminent.
  • Although the Tigers may trade for relief help, they appear happy with Joaquin Benoit at closer and Drew Smyly in their eighth-inning role, MLB.com's Jason Beck writes. "All I can say is that we feel very comfortable in the ninth and eighth innings with Benoit and Smyly. I don’t know where you’re really going to go out and improve that significantly," says GM Dave Dombrowski. The GM also echoes comments from other front office executives who say this year's market is a particularly tough one for buyers, since few teams identify as sellers at this point.
  • The Cardinals currently do not appear likely to make big moves at Wednesday's deadline, but ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that they might actually trade one of their relievers. Stark notes that, in particular, teams have asked about the Cardinals' bullpen lefties. The left-handers currently in the Cards' bullpen are Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate and Marc Rzepczynski.

AL Central Notes: Lindstrom, Hochevar, Santana

Tonight's AL Central Links..

  • The White Sox are shopping right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom along with Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, and Alexei RamirezDanny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. However, it's unclear how much interest other teams have, Knobler adds. Lindstrom, 33, has a 3.35 ERA in 40 1/3 innings pitched and has yet to allow a home run this year. However, his 6.2 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 could give some teams some pause.
  • We've heard the Royals have set a high price for Ervin Santana, and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that rival executives believe Luke Hochevar may be more likely to be traded. One executive described the 29-year-old Hochevar as "a hot item," as he's blossomed in the bullpen this season, posting a 1.89 ERA in 38 innings after struggling in the Royals' rotation for years. Some clubs may believe he could return to a starting role, potentially increasing his value. He's expected to draw interest from the Braves and Dodgers, among other teams. 
  • Meanwhile, Santana may also be a fit in Atlanta, Heyman says. That matches with what we've heard, though the Royals are indicating they'd need to be "overwhelmed" to trade him. Kansas City is targeting right field and second base help, Heyman adds.
  • An official familiar with the situation tells Knobler that a trade sending Ramirez from the White Sox to the Cardinals is "not likely," though as Knobler notes, such a deal appears to make sense on paper. Shortstop is the one position in a stacked St. Louis lineup that could use an upgrade, while the Sox are open for business and had a top scout in St. Louis this week. The two teams have discussed Ramirez along with Peavy, according to Knobler, who also reports that the Rangers maintain their interest in Rios. The Pirates may also be involved in Rios talks. Peavy, meanwhile, appears to be drawing the most attention from the Red Sox, but the A's and Braves have also expressed interest in the right-hander.

Rosenthal On Young, Rangers, Rios, A's

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports posted his latest edition of Full Count.  Let's take a look at the highlights..

  • The Phillies' direction remains unclear and its possible that they might not even deal Michael Young.  His .344 OBP is the highest of any team regular and the return that they would get on him is unknown.  Young also has a full no-trade clause, so he can effectively control the process.  If he's zeroed in on returning to the Rangers, he can conceivably block deals to other clubs until that gets done.  Both sides are interested in a reunion.
  • It will be interesting to see if the White Sox actually trade Alex Rios in the days ahead.  The Rangers' interest is overstated, Rosenthal hears, and the Pirates wouldn't necessarily want to take on the balance of the outfielder's contract.  Things can change, but White Sox might have to wait until the winter to find a palatable deal for Rios.
  • The A's remain interested in Jake Peavy, figuring that if they can't fix their offensive issues, they might as well add to their pitching strength.  They're not going to part with Sonny Gray or Addison Russell, but if they do acquire Peavy, they could promote Gray to their bullpen and send Tommy Milone down, keeping him in reserve as their No. 6 starter.
  • The Blue Jays appear unlikely to make a big move and they're not going to trade Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion unless they can improve their big league club and it's hard to see how trading either would accomplish that.  Toronto is far more open to moving Emilio Bonifacio and they're also drawing interest on their relievers.  They're also in something of a bind with something on Josh Johnson: they could either take what they can get right now, which isn't much, or risk giving him a qualifying offer this winter and having him accept.

NL Central Links: Soriano, Lohse, Gallardo, Grilli

The Cubs continued their trajectory as baseball's most active team on the trade front this morning when they officially traded Alfonso Soriano and $17.7MM to the Yankees in exchange for right-hander Corey Black. The deal saves the Cubs roughly $6.8MM and brings a power arm that was selected in the fourth round of last year's draft into their system. Here's more on Soriano and the rest of the NL Central...

  • Soriano told Gordon Wittenymyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he believes another team would've beaten the eight-year, $136MM contract he signed with the Cubs back in 2006. At least one team told Soriano's agent to give them a chance to beat any offer, but Soriano decided that he wanted the opportunity to join the storied history of the Cubs and bring a championship to Chicago.
  • While Brewers GM Doug Melvin recently turned away an inquiry on Kyle Lohse, another Brewers-connected person implied to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that Lohse could be had for the right package of prospects.
  • Within that same piece, one GM provided a long list of reasons that Yovani Gallardo isn't drawing interest. Gallardo's velocity is down, he's owed $15MM through 2014 and he also comes with off-the-field baggage in the form of a DUI arrest earlier this season.
  • The Pirates announced today that Jason Grilli has a flexor strain in his right arm. He is not a candidate for surgery, which is good news for the Bucs, but he will still miss four to eight weeks. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Pirates become more active in the bullpen trade market.
  • Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he has had a lot of conversations but nothing substantial. The Reds would like to add a right-handed bat but feel they can wait until Ryan Ludwick returns from the disabled list. They have a similar stance on waiting for Johnny Cueto, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton.

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