July 5, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton (10) looks on during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Pittsburgh Pirates Notebook: Looking at the Latest Trade Rumors

Friday night was a tough loss to swallow for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but you have to take it for exactly what it is- one loss out of 162 games.

There’s no need to panic or throw in the towel for one loss. No need to panic and make moves for one loss.

June 10, 2012; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Stanford Cardinal pitcher Mark Appel (26) before the start of game two against the Florida State Seminoles in the Tallahassee super regional at Dick Howser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

But the trade deadline is approaching and that’s obviously the most popular topic to discuss surrounding the Pirates at the moment, so I will dive into all of the latest rumors attached to the Pirates and look at a lot more in my latest Pirates Notebook.

– By now everyone knows that the Pirates did not come to terms with their No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, Stanford right-hander and Scott Boras client Mark Appel. Personally I don’t see many advantages of Appel returning to school.

But for those that want to knock the Bucs in this situation, the Pirates were not being cheap here like in the past. They offered Appel the maximum amount they could without forfeiting their first round pick in 2013.

ESPN’s Keith Law wrote a great piece about how the system failed the Pirates in this instance.

– In addition, the Pirates also did not sign a few other early-round picks that were demanding over-slot bonuses: P Walker Buehler (14th round) and OF Brandon Thomas (4th round).

– As far as trade rumors, the most popular name among Pirates fans is Arizona outfielder Justin Upton. While this is something I would love to see happen, as an Upton-Andrew McCutchen-Starling Marte outfield would be something special for a few years, I don’t see the Bucs making a deal here.

FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks are looking for a young shortstop or third baseman and major league help. The first part of that equation the Bucs can’t help with.

It’s also a bit concerning that the Snakes would be willing to part with a player in his prime such as Upton, so that raises a red flag.

– In all likelihood, the Pirates will acquire a corner outfielder before the trade deadline and that realistically could be the San Diego Padres’ Carlos Quentin or the Minnesota Twins’ Josh Willingham, who both could be had without having to part with upper-level prospects.

– However while all the talk has been around acquiring a bat, I would much rather see them trade for a top of the rotation starter. Cole Hamels and Zach Grienke are names that have been thrown around but the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers respectively are working on extensions with both guys.

Renting a stud arm gives the Pirates more of a chance to make a playoff run than bringing in a bat would. Sure the Pirates can use some more punch, but the offense is fine right now. If the Pirates were to make the playoffs, a rotation that features the likes of a Hamels, followed by James McDonald and A.J. Burnett gives the Bucs a much better chance to win than having to run the likes of Erik Bedard, Kevin Correia or Jeff Karstens out in October.

– There’s also a need for a left-handed starter and Tom Smith of Rum Bunter takes a look at the Seattle Mariners’ Jason Vargas, who could draw a look from the Pirates. Vargas is a guy that could be had relatively cheap and a guy that I think could do well in Pittsburgh.

That’s about it for now. Keep checking back for more updates as the trade deadline approaches.

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Tags: Carlos Quentin Cole Hamels Jason Vargas Josh Willingham Justin Upton Mark Appel Pittsburgh Pirates Zach Greinke

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