Trades not worrying Bucs’ GM
PITTSBURGH – General manager Neal Huntington continues to look for trades, but insists the Pittsburgh Pirates will be fine if he doesn’t find one.
“There’s not a ton of players out there who are significant upgrades,” Huntington said before Sunday’s 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Teams are also discovering that prices are high for players who might help.
The Pirates looked at San Diego Padres closer Huston Street. The Los Angeles Angels landed him by giving up their top prospect.
The Oakland Athletics acquired starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hamell from the Chicago Cubs, but had to surrender several of their best prospects.
“It’s the basic law of supply and demand,” Huntington said. “There aren’t a lot of teams looking to sell, and there are a lot of teams looking to buy.”
The non-waiver trade deadline comes at the end of the month, but that doesn’t necessarily end the chances of making a deal. Huntington was able to make two significant deals at the end of August last year, acquiring everyday players Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau, as well as backup catcher John Buck.
All three were added before the postseason rosters were frozen on Aug. 31.
The Pirates are interested in adding pitching depth for both the rotation and the bullpen. That could depend on what kind of progress they see from starters Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole.
Liriano has made two so-so starts since he came off the disabled list with an oblique strain, and struggled even before the injury. He’s won one of his 17 starts this season.
Cole is on the disabled list for the second time this season. He tested his strained lat muscle in a bullpen session before Sunday’s game and reported no problems. He could be ready to make a minor league rehab start with the next 10 days.
The Pirates are also interested in adding a backup shortstop. Veteran Clint Barmes is on the disabled list with a long-term groin injury. Journeyman Michael Martinez is presently backing up Jordy Mercer.
“We’re still looking to see what might be out there,” Huntington said.
Again, the issue would be what the Pirates would have to give up to acquire what might be short-term help.
“If you can be patient, you might end up paying less on July 31,” Huntington said. “Or they may be a heavier market, and you end up paying more. It’s all part of the trade deadline.”
Starling Marte came off the bench Sunday and entered the game as a pinch hitter.
He sat out Saturday’s game after taking a 93 mile per hour pitch off his helmet.
According to Huntington, the Pirates’ medical tests showed that Marte sustained “head trauma” but not a concussion.
He said the trainers will continue to monitor Marte.
“He may wake up two days from now and feel he’s regressed, or he may wake up two days from now and feel 100 percent,” Huntington said.
Quite a grab
Manager Clint Hurdle on reliever Jared Hughes’ catch of Charlie Blackmon’s line drive to start an important double play in Saturday’s game: “I don’t know if he snagged it, or if it snagged him.”
Clayton Kershaw started for the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night in St. Louis, so he won’t face the Pirates’ during the three-game series at PNC Park.
It begins tonight with Hyun-jin Ryu pitching for the Dodgers, the fourth consecutive game in which the Pirates will face a left-handed starter.