Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is back on the scene to get us up to speed with the latest Pirates rumors. Let’s start with the team’s five veteran trade candidates:
- Jack Wilson: The Tigers and Dodgers are said to be the main suitors. The problem is that neither team wants to send the Pirates top prospects while paying all of the $7.85MM Wilson has coming. Additionally, the Pirates do not view Dodgers shortstop prospect Chin-Lung Hu as a possible trade centerpiece. The Bucs have spoken to at least two other clubs about Wilson, but Kovacevic rejects the previously reported three-team scenario. It seems that some of the top free agent shortstops will need to sign to create a better market for Wilson.
- Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche: The Pirates have received "mere inquiries" on these two.
- John Grabow, Ronny Paulino: Grabow is a free agent after ’09, so his trade value may never be higher. The Pirates are apparently pushing Paulino, but don’t want to sell low on him.
- Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps: These four are described as "as close to untouchable as it gets" for the Pirates.
- On the free agent front, the Pirates have made contact with Paul Byrd. However, GM Neal Huntington implied he’s not finding the starting pitching bargains he expected. The Pirates haven’t made offers to Doug Mientkiewicz or Jason Michaels; those players are considering proposals from other teams.
- Kovacevic adds: "The Pirates also had discussed acquiring a right-handed power bat for the outfield through free agency, but there has been no known movement on that front." Just looking at who’s out there, I imagine this could be referring to Pat Burrell. Still, that’s entirely speculative and he’s probably out of their price range.