Pirates targeting bat, relievers

For the first time in a long time, the Pirates are approaching the Trade Deadline as buyers. Sitting .5 games out of first on Monday, the Pirates have centered their attention around finding a right-handed bat that could fit into the middle of the lineup and relief help. Finding a bat to slot into a corner outfield spot or third base would seem to make the most sense for the Pirates.

One source told MLB.com that the Pirates are going to “kick the tires” on Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who is making $18.5 million this season. This is the final year of Beltran’s contract, and if a team is willing to take on his salary, the Mets aren’t likely to require too much in return. Whether it’s Beltran or anyone else with a similar contract status, it could be ideal for the Pirates to take on salary rather than give up good prospects in a mid-season deal. That way, the Pirates could make a run at the 2011 postseason without compromising the foundation they’ve built in the Minors.

That said, the GM Neal Huntington has said the organization is willing to deal prospects for the right acquisition.

It is not a guarantee, though, that the Pirates are going to be extremely active over the next two weeks. The club has eight players currently on the disabled list and seven could be back with the club this season. Four could return before August. That, alone, will give the club a boost, and the Pirates are already internally debating whether those internal options are better than other external ones.

Jenifer Langosch

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