PITTSBURGH - If you expected the Pittsburgh Pirates to come away from the non-waiver trading deadline with headline moves, you were probably disappointed on Wednesday.
The Pirates made several deals, but they didn't cause the ripple that the big names from high profile teams did.
Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Ryan Dempster were among the players on the move. None of them will be house hunting in Pittsburgh.
But the Pirates still improved their team without surrendering much from the major league roster, or the supply of prime minor league prospects.
The biggest loss is Brad Lincoln, who went to Toronto for Travis Snider, now the Pirates' regular right fielder. Lincoln hasn't succeeded as a starter, but he showed some promise as a short-burst reliever who might fit into a closer's role in the future.
That could be a factor if Joel Hanrahan isn't brought back next year.
But the Pirates feel like they've gotten a player who can handle a regular corner outfield spot for several years. Snider's had a spotty record in Toronto, but there's clearly some power potential.
The Pirates are taking a chance with Gaby Sanchez, who was acquired from Miami for Gorkys Hernandez. Sanchez is a former All-Star who has fallen on tough times this season.
The Pirates see him as a bounce-back candidate while sharing first base with Garrett Jones.
Righthander Chad Qualls helps fill Lincoln's spot in the bullpen. The cost to get him was Casey McGehee, who played poorly aside from a six-week stretch.
The player the Pirates could have really used was Victorino, who could set things up at the top of the order. General manager Neal Huntington said the Philadelphia Phillies' price was simply too high.
Huntington said the Phillies weren't asking for minor league stars, but wanted a player or players from the major league roster whom the Pirates would not deal. Victorino is a free agent at the end of the season, so a stay in Pittsburgh would have been short.
"We will not mortgage the future for a two-month rental," Huntington said.
The price was similarly steep for Pence, who could make $14 million next season. Huntington was not willing to give up a major league player for Pence, an above average player who is not at the elite level.
"This is about making the team better for 2012, but not losing sight of '13, '14 and beyond," Huntington said.
That's what the Pirates did at the deadline - made improvements without compromising their future.
It's hard to find fault with that.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org