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.
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