Jul 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz (19) hits a triple during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Rumors: Could the Pirates target Cubs' OF Nate Schierholtz?

Sure the 2013 MLB All-Star Game is still a few days away, but it is never too early to look forward to the July 31 trade deadline and more specifically how Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington will approach the deadline this season.

Huntington recently told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on SiriusXM that the Pirates have “no clear priority” at the deadline this season, but did note that the Bucs could look to add a  a reliever or hitter.

Jun 27, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

If they do look to add a hitter, a right fielder seems to be the position that makes the most sense, which begs the question of if Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Nate Schierholtz would be a good candidate?

Schierholtz is in the middle of a career season with the Cubs, posting a .275/.330/.510 slash line with 11 homers and 34 RBI.

His .840 OPS looks very nice, especially when you consider the fact that Travis Snider boasts an OPS of .626 and Garret Jones has one of only .729.

With the way Jose Tabata is currently swinging the bat (.828 OPS); a Schierholtz-Tabata combination would represent a huge upgrade in right field.

Then there is the fact that while talking any potential trade, you have to talk money with the Pirates.

As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently noted, the Cubs control Schierholtz’s rights through 2014 and he’s only making $2.5 million this season, which means he won’t have a huge jump in salary next season.

Schierholtz would bring a guy with a little bit of pop to the Pirates lineup and a pretty good defensive corner outfielder. There isn’t much that Schierholtz does great on a baseball field, but there isn’t anything he does poorly either.

He would make the perfect platoon guy with Tabata as Schierholtz has had only 31 at bats against lefties all season and would help strengthen the Pirates bench, which has to be a priority for Huntington.

Most importantly though is the fact that not only would a guy like Schierholtz be an upgrade for the Pirates down the stretch, but he is a guy that can also be had without parting with any major pieces of the teams future.

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Tags: Chicago Cubs Jose Tabata Mlb Trade Rumors Nate Schierholtz Pittsburgh Pirates

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