Monday, June 23, 2008

Hit and run...

How does MLB Trade Rumors rate the Pirate bait in this year's meat market? Here's the gang that they think are available for the right price:

> Ronny Paulino - once Ryan Doumit returns, the Bucs can at least consider moving Paulino.

> Adam LaRoche - extension talks fizzled.

> Jack Wilson - the Bucs may hang on to Wilson for the sake of respectability. Wilson is signed through '09 and has a limited no-trade clause.

> Jason Bay - the resurgent Bay is one of the crown jewels of the trade market. The Bucs were right to wait on trading him. Since the acquiring team gets him for a season and a half, could he draw a Teixeira-like bounty?

> Xavier Nady - among RFs, only Ryan Ludwick has been more productive than Nady this year. He earns $3.35MM this year and won't reach free agency until after the '09 season. It'd be tough for Pirates fans to watch their incredibly productive outfield be dismantled, but trading Nady and Bay might serve the greater good.

> John Grabow, Damaso Marte, & Tyler Yates - the Bucs hold two premiere southpaws in Grabow and Marte.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette and his take on any looming deals: There will be no all-out fire sale. That is the indication I am getting on many levels. You likely will see Nady go at some point, and you could see Marte and maybe John Grabow. If someone blows the doors off for Jason Bay, you might see that, too, though his outcome is looking more and more as if he might stay.

Bottom line, though: If somebody offers (a) pitching bounty...the Pirates are sure to listen. They have Brad Lincoln and a lot of question marks in the minors, including Danny Moskos' status as a starter vs. reliever. That dearth has to be addressed for the team to be competitive, much less a contender.

Five weeks or so to go until deadline. It should be interesting.

> The docs at AGH had encouraging test results for Pittsburgh's battered pitchers, Ian Snell and Phil Dumatrait. Snell has medial epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. He's day-to-day, and should miss just one start, on Friday against the Rays, if any.

Dumatrait has bursitis in his rotator cuff, which is an inflammation, not a trauma injury, and is expected to return to action as soon as he clears the DL on July 5th.

Since neither guy looks like he's down for the count, we think Pittsburgh may hold up on their Plan B of looking for an arm outside the organization for the immediate time being. But as the trade clock ticks down, a young gun, especially one firing his bullets from the right side, would look awfully nice...

> Speaking of kids looking good, RHP Yoslan Herrera pitched 7 shutout innings and gave up 2 hits in his win Sunday. He struck out 3 and walked 1. The Cuban's record is 4-7 with a 3.12 ERA at Altoona. He's been sharp lately, and may rate a look at Indy in the coming weeks. Herrara's 27, and his career needs some giddy-up.

The Curve's RF Brad Corley (.299) went 3 for 4 with a triple, RBI, and a steal while 2B Shelby Ford (.330) went 2 for 3 with a triple, walk, and three steals. They've both been mashing lately. CF Chris Duffy went 0 for 4 and is hitting .190 during his rehab stint.

> 3B Bobby Spain is having a nice year at Hickory, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs while hitting .307.

> 15 of the 24 inked Pirate draft choices for 2008 are playing at State College, including four of the top 10 draft picks. (The Spikes are carrying a 30 man roster.)

They are SS Jordy Mercer, SS Chase d’Arnaud, 3B Jeremy Farrell, 3B Matt Hague, OF David Rubenstein, 1B Calvin Anderson, RHP Brian Leach, C Mark Carver, 1B Matt Payne, RHP Alan Knotts, C Chris Simmons, OF Cody White, LHP Mike Williams , RHP Allen Ponder, and RHP Owen Brolsma.

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