| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pirates expect high prices in trade market

Pirates/MLB Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Getty Images
Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins is among the Pirates' targets at the trade deadline.

Pirates podcasts

  • Loading...

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Any team that wants to make a significant move before Thursday's non-waiver trading deadline must be willing to pay a hefty price.

It's a seller's market. Going into Monday's games, 23 of 30 major league teams still were very much in the hunt for either division titles or wild-card playoff bids.

Greater competitive balance and the recent addition of a second wild card in each league has made things more challenging for most general managers. One way to readjust the market would be to move the non-waiver trade deadline back a few weeks into August.

“That's something to think about it, although I kind of like it the way it is,” commissioner Bud Selig said last week during his visit to PNC Park. “I heard somebody grumbling on TV the other day that there aren't many sellers and the prices have gone up, and I thought to myself, ‘Well, that's good. That's what we set out to accomplish.' We can talk about extending the deadline, but I'm happy with where it is.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington wishes the market had played out this way a few years ago, when his team was rebuilding. Instead, Huntington has listened to outrageous demands from other clubs who want the Pirates' high-end prospects, even in exchange for relievers.

The Pirates need more production from first base than what they've gotten from Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez. There is uncertainty in the starting rotation, due to Gerrit Cole's injury and Francisco Liriano's struggles.

Upgrading those two areas would be costly, in terms of prospects and salary dollars. Huntington might have more options (and success) if he tries to beef up the bullpen.

“It's an invaluable asset,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think everybody's going to try to find one more guy, if they can, to add to that mix in the back — especially if they get a closer or an eighth-inning guy — to get one more guy involved.”

Huston Street, one of the Pirates' early targets, already has been dealt to the Los Angeles Angels, but he wasn't their only choice.

Even after moving Street, the San Diego Padres might be willing to give up Joaquin Benoit. The right-hander can fill either back-end role but is due $8 million next season. His contract includes an $8 million team option for 2016.

Adding a left-handed reliever would give the Pirates insurance in case Justin Wilson scuffles down the stretch and could allow for more down time for Tony Watson.

Boston Red Sox left-handed setup man Andrew Miller is being eyed by several teams and would demand the biggest return. Teammate Burke Badenhop is a reliable righty who's making $2.15 million and will be a first-time free agent after this season.

Three Red Sox relievers in the bargain bin are Felix Doubront, Craig Breslow and Edward Mujica. Doubront would be a reclamation project after flopping as a starter. Mujica ($9.5 million over two years) is too pricey, given his sub-par performance. Breslow is 33 years old and has an unhealthy 1.75 WHIP.

Colorado closer LaTroy Hawkins, 41, is another possibility. The righty can pitch in any role, has playoff experience and worked with Hurdle with the Rockies in 2007.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pirates

  1. Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
  2. Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 28, 2015
  3. Pirates notebook: No sign of improvement for RHP Sadler
  4. Cole collects MLB-best 14th win as Pirates take series against Nationals
  5. Starting 9: Pirates help and the illusion of help
  6. Gameday: Pirates vs. Nationals, July 26, 2015
  7. Pirates minor league report: Moore a breakout star in Morgantown
  8. Nationals pound Burnett, Pirates
  9. Making splash at MLB trade deadline not always in buyers’ best interest
  10. Pirates pursuing trade offers for first baseman Alvarez
  11. Gameday: Pirates vs. Nationals July 25, 2015