With the 2013 MLB All-Star Game now in the books, all eyes will be focused on the upcoming MLB Trade Deadline; more specifically what Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington will or will not do to try and improve his team for what promises to be an exciting stretch run.
With that being said, the Pirates are still being linked to a few players, all in the city of Chicago.
As I have reported in the past, the Pirates have been linked to right fielders Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox and Nate Schierholtz of the Chicago Cubs. According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the Bucs are “studying deals” for both players and Rogers thinks that Huntington may pull the trigger on a deal soon.
Looking to upgrade in right field, the Pirates are studying deals for Nate Schierholtz and Alex Rios. It is possible that they’ll make a move sooner rather than later, as they are tied for the NL Central lead while last in OPS at the position (slash line of .239/.302/.377 from seven right fielders, with Travis Snider getting the most playing time).
Personally I don’t like the thought of a Rios deal very much.
He’s not too much of an upgrade over Jose Tabata, especially the way Tabata has performed since coming off the disabled list a couple of weeks ago. Then there is the fact that the 32-year-old outfielder is still owed $13.5 million after this season.
The 29-year old Schierholtz is a bit more intriguing as he could come cheaper and would form a nice platoon with Tabata in right field, as Schierholtz has a superb .862 OPS against right-handed pitchers this season. However after a very nice first three months of the season, Schierholtz has hit a wall in July hitting only .138 (4-for-29) with no RBI and only a .472 OPS.
That comes after a month of June in which he posted a .969 OPS.
Schierholtz is making only $2.75 million this season and would be arbitration eligible next season, although he wouldn’t likely command a big raise.
My initial thoughts are that while the Bucs could use some upgrades offensively, neither guy is going to make a great impact on this team and I would be hesitant to give up much of anything for either guy.
I wouldn’t jump into a deal for either guy now, but I would keep an eye on how Schierholtz performs after the All-Star break. if he heats up he could be an upgrade to the Pirates bench, but in the bigger scheme of things I would rather see Huntington let the market play out and see if anything else develops closer to the deadline.