Reluctance to deal top prospects hinders Pirates' deals

| Monday, July 30, 2012, 10:02 p.m.

CHICAGO — Late Monday afternoon, it seemed less likely that the Pirates would make a deal for a high-impact player before the 4 p.m. Tuesday non-waiver trade deadline.

The Pirates are reluctant to part with rookie outfielder Starling Marte or top right-handed pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole, which takes them out of the running for outfielders such as Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Shin-Soo Choo.

A team source confirmed Monday night that the package of prospects the Philadelphia Phillies are asking in return for Pence is “prohibitive” to the Pirates making a deal.

The Pirates also have been looking to upgrade their bench and bullpen with smaller deals, but even that was proving difficult.

“Would we like some more experience? Absolutely, in some areas,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But if you get more experienced guys who don't play well, what difference does it make? We're not trying to recreate the bench or anything. We're just trying to do the best we can with what we have and where we are. We're not going to do anything out of panic or out of some necessity. We're not in that type of mode.”

When considering right-hander Kevin Correia's trade request, the Pirates have to balance moving a player who's unhappy in a diminished role with potentially giving up pitching depth. “The other tough balance is to find somebody who wants your guy,” Hurdle said.

Hurdle receives constant updates about the trade market from GM Neal Huntington. Referring to those reports, Hurdle said the extra, tradeable draft pick the Pirates received in the competitive balance lottery has come into play in some talks.

“It's a dynamic that hasn't been in play that makes it a little more interesting,” Hurdle said. “It can make it a little more complicated, is what I'm coming to understand.”

• Reliever Juan Cruz (shoulder inflammation) threw long toss Monday, and he is scheduled Tuesday to throw his first side session since going on the disabled list. Cruz tossed off the mound Sunday to a catcher who was standing up. Pitching coach Ray Searage said he'd like Cruz to make at least four outings in a minor league rehab assignment — two outings one day apart, then back-to-back outings — before deciding whether Cruz is ready to come off the DL.

— Rob Biertempfel

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