Hours after trading Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners and Freddy Sanchez to the Giants, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was asked if the organization — which has also already dealt Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett and Adam LaRoche this summer — was finally done dealing.
Huntington downplayed the necessity of making any more deals. But at the same time, he didn’t close the door.
“We continue to have ongoing dialogue,” Huntington said. “We’re not looking to make any more trades. We weren’t looking to make these trades. We don’t need to make other trades. But if the right baseball opportunity presents itself, it’s certainly something we take a look at. Again, if it’s strong enough, we move forward.”
At this point, lefty reliever John Grabow would seem to be the most likely left to go. He’s the only player remaining on the roster who is set to be a free agent at season’s end. And as prompted the decisions to trade LaRoche, Wilson and Sanchez, the Pirates don’t like to lose players to free agency without getting something in return.
The Marlins and Cubs are known to have interest in Grabow, though it may take Orioles lefty reliever George Sherill being dealt before the Pirates get substantial offers from teams looking to add a veteran lefty in the ‘pen.
The Twins have two wishes as the Trade Deadline approaches later this week — to add a middle infielder that can fill the No. 2 spot in the lineup and to add a solid late-inning option to the bullpen.
Joe Crede’s recent shoulder injury has only seemed to increase the Twins desire to add another infielder — one with offensive potential — and perhaps that’s why the club’s pursuit of A’s shortstop Orlando Cabrera has started making headlines in recent days.
The club has been talking with the A’s since earlier this week about Cabrera and both sides have expressed real interest in completing a deal. Manager Ron Gardenhire said publicly on Saturday that he likes Cabrera and that he’s asked some of his players about the shortstop — including Crede who was a teammate of Cabrera’s in Chicago last year.
The A’s have been eager to deal Cabrera, but one reason a deal has not yet been done is that the Twins also have been trying to add reliever Michael Wuertz into the package. Wuertz has reportedly been coveted by many teams — including the Angels — but the A’s haven’t necessarily been willing to move him. However if they can get a better package back for the two players, perhaps Oakland might be willing to move the reliever as well. Clearly it would be a great move for the Twins since it would address both of their needs.
Cabrera isn’t a prototypical No. 2 hitter in that his on-base percentage isn’t quite as high as the Twins would like. But the feeling of the club is that he would provide an upgrade from the options the club has now for the spot.
The Twins inquired earlier this month about the Pirates’ Freddy Sanchez but Pittsburgh’s asking price appeared to be a little higher than the Twins were willing to pay. That hasn’t discouraged the Twins have checking in on Sanchez again, as he would be the ideal offensive fit and he plays second base. Still, right now it seems the Twins chances of making a deal are better with a club like Oakland.
There have also been reports that the Twins have inquired about Toronto’s Marco Scutaro. But of course that option will hinge largely on whether the Blue Jays are able to move Roy Halladay. Since that might not be known until closer to the deadline, it’s no surprise that the Twins appear to be focusing their efforts elsewhere at the moment.
— Kelly Thesier
Late last week, the Pirates extended contract offers to Freddy Sanchez (two years, $10 million) and Jack Wilson (two years, $8 million) with the intention of taking them off the trading block if each accepted. However, both have rejected their individual offers and neither has presented the Pirates with a counter offer.
What does this mean? Pirates general manager Neal Huntington sees the absence of a counter offer as a sign that neither of the two middle infielders sees the Pirates’ value matching up with their expectations. And if dialogue doesn’t reopen between the various sides, the Pirates plan on listening to offers from clubs interested in acquiring either player in advance of the July 31 deadline.
Sanchez has garnered more interest than Wilson, but his $8 million club option — which will become guaranteed with 600 plate appearances this season — could be an obstacle, as other teams haven’t been overly enthusiastic about taking that on. Unless Sanchez is to get hurt, he will easily surpass those 600 needed plate appearances.
Wilson has a club option worth $8.4 million for 2010, but there is no way he can make that guaranteed. As a result, a club could pick him up as a two-month rental if wanted.
What will the Pirates seek in return? They desperately need some Major League ready or near Major League ready middle infielders. The organization also covets young pitching, so look for that to be high on the priority list as well.
— Jenifer Langosch
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB