I'm working on some mid-season stuff to hopefully be posted later today, but until then let's take a look at some posts yesterday about the Pirates' goals at the upcoming trade deadline.
MLB Trade Rumors ran a post called "If the Pirates Become Buyers," going around the diamond and discussing the club's potential upgrades at first, short, third, and in the outfield. It's mostly territory that's been covered (Carlos Pena), though Rafael Furcal may be one name worth keeping in mind, depending on his health. I've been saying to everyone that asks that I think the Pirates' plan of attack in the next two weeks is going to be to attack guys they can get by taking salary off of team's hands. Furcal is both overpaid and on the Dodgers; if he's healthy an opportunity may exist there. Furcal is a 10 and 5 guy, though, so he'd have to want to come to Pittsburgh. He's also got a $12 million team option for 2012. Again, depending on health, that may or may not be something of interest to the Pirates.
I also think that Charlie's head is in the right place in mentioning Ryan Ludwick; Pedro Alvarez will be back with the Pirates at some point this year and in a lot of ways, a right-handed power bat makes more sense than a left-handed one. Ludwick is trapped in San Diego where Petco is doing him no favors (his .710 OPS translates to a nearly average 99 OPS+); getting him out of there and using him in a more Matt Diaz type role against favorable pitchers could help his numbers quite a bit. Since he's due for free agency after this season and his numbers aren't good right now, he'd probably be pretty cheap to acquire and he'd help the Pirates' depth out a bit, though you could probably argue that he'll be redundant as soon as Steve Pearce is back.
I'm guessing that even if Ludwick's not on the Pirates' radar, that he's the type of player they're likely to acquire if they pick up anyone at all at the deadline. I'd guess the front office is going to be slow to part with much minor league talent, and that may mean that they won't have much of a chance to add a regular, save a starter. There's plenty of ways to address the depth issues, though, especially as long as Clint Hurdle is willing to keep platooning like crazy.
Assuming JJ Hardy doesn't work out an extention with the O's, is he a viable candidate? Of course all it takes to get Cedeno to play well is to threaten his playing time. Maybe trade rumors for a shortstop will be enough to get him going...
If Cuddyer could be had for the right price, I'm all for it. He hits for average and power. Hopefully the Pirates can use their willingness to take on salary as leverage to drop the price in terms of prospects. I don't think that Derrick Lee, Carlos Pena, etc. are significant upgrades over what we currently have. I'd rather move Jones (and have Overbay platoon against lefies) to first, roll with Presley, Tabata, McCutchen in the outfiled, and throw Pena money at Bell.
@Spada14 for what it's worth, the FO has said major league money is in a separate budget than signing draft pick money. But I'm not sure if I believe that.
@Savage_Beast I've heard that too and it's complete nonsense. The Pirates books have revenues on one side and expenditures on the other. They are free to move money around as they please.
I've heard some mention Derrick Lee. He's a RH bat with power and a outstanding glove at first. He's having a horrid year but has killed at PNC in the past....probably due to the team pitching to him.
I had never though of Furcal. I have actually not been angered by Cedeno, but Furcal would be an upgrade if healthy I guess. Also never thought of Ludwick. I think I like that a little more than Pena, but I'll be ok with either.
Also I've heard Michael Cuddyer tossed about not sure how I feel about that. The cost may be a bit too high for my tastes