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.
What to do with Ian Snell? There may not be any biggest discussion/dilemma in the Pirates’ front office right now. One month ago, the right-hander asked for a demotion to Triple-A, certainly not something you hear a player asking about every day. He also has expressed little interest in coming back to Pittsburgh. Since going to Triple-A Indianapolis, Snell has been unbelievable. He has allowed just two earned runs in 32 1/3 innings (five starts). He has 43 strikeouts and 12 walks.
So it’s no surprise that a number of clubs have already contacted the Pirates to see what it would take to land Snell.
The Yankees are the latest and have a scout at Indianapolis’ Victory Field on Sunday to watch Snell’s start. Though their level of interest in Snell isn’t known, it’s no secret that New York is in the market for a starting pitcher to replace Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation. Obviously, Snell is being looked at as a potential option.
A week ago, GM Neal Huntington made it clear that he does not plan on selling Snell low, even though no one is sure that Snell will ever be able to be successful in Pittsburgh because of the still-present friction between he and the organization based on how he left last month.
“Teams are still hoping to bottom fish and we’re still not ready to just give the guy away,” Huntington said. “At this point, his four or five strong outings haven’t increased his value [externally]. We’re not talented enough and deep enough as an organization to just give away a player that has Major League ability, as challenging as it can be sometimes.”
Still, the Pirates would prefer not to pay Snell’s $4.25 million guaranteed salary next season. And if the Yankees (or any other interested club for that matter) see Snell as a fit, maybe they’ll be willing to part with enough of a package to entice Pittsburgh and solve this problem.
— Jenifer Langosch