Monday, June 25, 2012

Potential Trade Targets for the Pirates: American League

The Pirates are currently 5 games over .500 and 1 game out of the division lead. They will almost certainly be buyers at the trade deadline. So from the teams who will probably be sellers, here are the players, whether probable or purely a dream, I would like to see in a Pirates uniform come August.

AL East
Yeah right, none of these teams are selling.

AL Central

Hard to tell what this team will do at the deadline. While they are currently contending for their division, their -45 run differential suggests they will fall off at some point. If they are sellers at the trade deadline, I would love to see the Pirates go after Asdrubal Cabrera. He has 2 years left on his contract after this year, but the Indians might not want to trade him. Maybe they could nab him for one or two of the AAA pitchers if the Indians are looking to shed salary at the deadline. Still, have to think he's one of the Indians' most coveted assests, so he most likely won't be available. They might be more willing to give up Shin-Soo Choo for cheap, however, as he is up for arbitration next year.

A team that is really underachieving this year, the Tigers could be sellers if they don't turn their season around in a hurry. A potential bat could be OF Austin Jackson, who has a miniscule $500K 1-year contract with the Tigers and has hit well in limited play. Again, the Tigers biggest need is pitching, so maybe a minor league pitcher or two could land Jackson.

The Royals have been hit hard with injuries this year, and are most likely already out of their division race. The Pirates could take a chance on aging RF Jeff Francoeur, or they could look to try and get a longer-term solution at SS with Alcides Escobar. Francouer probably could be had for a prospect or draft pick, Escobar might take a little more to get.

The Twins most likely are looking to start a youth movement with two disappointing seasons after winning back-to-back division titles. One name that keeps popping up for the Pirates is OF Josh Willingham, and it's pretty easy to see why. He has great numbers on the season, and despite just signing a longish contract with the Twins, if they are looking to dump salary, he could probably be gotten for a couple low prospects or draft picks. Another potential is 1B Justin Morneau, but who might be a little pricey for the notoriously thrifty Pirates ($15M/year). But if NH is serious about spending more this year, he could be a great pickup for a couple of years. Or perhaps a deal could be worked similar to the Burnett deal, where the Twins pick up some of his salary.

AL West

Oakland is in a tough division to win, and most likely will not be a contender for a wild card spot with so many good AL East teams in the picture, but they have been playing much better of late and may not be sellers at the deadline after all. But if they are, they may be willing to give up on LF Seth Smith (arb. next year) or, if the Pirates are willing to give up quite a bit, Josh Reddick.

Seattle has struggled all year, and they are firmly in the AL West basement. Potential names they could be selling are Dustin Ackely, who has one more year on his contract after this season. If the Pirates really want to make a splash, they could try to finagle away INF Kyle Seagar, who has spent time at 3rd, SS, and 2nd.  It would probably take some big chips to get him, though.

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