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Pirates find resistance in baseball's trade market

Pirates/MLB Videos

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Pirates crave a slugger to transform their punchless lineup. But with less than a week to go before the trade deadline, general manager Neal Huntington probably must shift his focus to other needs.

It's not from lack of trying. The Pirates eyed several power bats -- including Carlos Beltran, Carlos Pena and Hunter Pence -- but were stymied each time.

"The acquisition cost is prohibitive at this time," Huntington said Sunday. "One, you've got to have a player who, if he has a no-trade (clause), wants to come to your city. Two, the other team has to be willing to trade the players you express interest in. Three, you've got to find a match in value. We've run into roadblocks at just about every step of the way."

The non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. next Sunday.

Even after adding righty reliever Jason Grilli last week, the Pirates continue to seek bullpen help. They have explored options with the San Diego Padres (who are shopping closer Heath Bell), the Baltimore Orioles (Koji Uehara) and Toronto Blue Jays (Jason Frasor and Octavio Dotel).

Huntington said deal-making is difficult because there are more buyers in this market than there's been in recent years. The demands of sellers started out high and have gotten higher over the past couple of weeks.

"Will that change in the next week• Probably," Huntington said. "That's why we'll stay disciplined and stay with teams. If the asking price changes, we'll hopefully look to add."

Other clubs also are hoping that Huntington will yield to pressure from fans to reload the roster amid the Pirates' surprising pennant chase.

"It's a challenging time," Huntington said. "We're absolutely motivated to help this club. We're just not motivated to do something stupid or foolish."

The Pirates have checked with the Colorado Rockies about a possible trade for veteran catcher Chris Iannetta. Chris Snyder (back) and Ryan Doumit (ankle) are both out with injuries and neither is expected to return to Pittsburgh next year.

In the game yesterday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pirates backup catcher Eric Fryer was unable to corral two sinkers in the dirt from pitcher Charlie Morton. One of the wild pitches allowed a run to score.

However, Fryer also picked off Gerald Laird with a strong throw to second base and had two hits in the Pirates' 4-3 victory.

Additional Information:

Room for improvement

The Pirates went into Sunday's game ranked near the bottom of the National League in several offensive categories:

Average: .246 (12th)

Runs: 378 (13th)

Hits: 801 (14th)

Total bases: 1,177 (15th)

Home runs: 62 (14th)

RBI: 360 (12th)

GIDP: 81 (15th)

Slugging pct.: .361 (14th)

On-base pct.: .312 (11th)




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