Jul 21, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee (33) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates trades that will never happen, but should

Jul 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

If you are like me and keep Twitter up on your computer most of the day, one of the main searches you should have is “#Pirates.” (I used to do it without the # sign, but I got a lot of posts talking about Somalia Pirates or Pirates of the Caribbean.)

Another target result I keep up is “Pirates Trade” which is also very good during this time of the year. I love reading through trade rumors, scenarios, what-ifs and get very excited when a “Pirates near deal for X” pops up.

The MLB trade deadline is in nine days and there will be a massive amount of all of the above written and posted all over social media, plus some other quality trade rumor websites. Obviously it’s been pretty quiet as of this writing but the White Sox’ Alex Rios being pulled from his game Friday and seen giving hugs to his teammates with Pirates prospect Alen Hanson being pulled about the same time made Twitter go crazy with posts about a potential trade being completed.

I constantly have conversations all the time about trade targets and even go so far as giving the “unlikely to happen, but man it would be great” suggestions for trades. As always, to complete any trade, both sides must be willing to part with their respective player or players. Anyone can go out and say the Pirates should go out and grab Cliff Lee or Aramis Ramirez but there are a bunch of questions that need to be answered here.

Does Cliff Lee want to come to Pittsburgh? What would it cost the Pirates in terms of prospects? Is he controllable for many years or a rental?

I mention Aramis Ramirez because my buddy Jim brings him up quite a bit. I said the only way for Ramirez to come back to Pittsburgh is if he switched to first base. The Pirates are not going to move Pedro Alvarez at this point, and do we know if Ramirez can even play first? I think Ramirez would cost the Pirates a couple of mid-level prospects, probably guys like Luis Heredia and Alex Dickerson.

Cliff Lee would cost the Pirates quite a bit more. He wouldn’t be a rental and would be a nice ace to bring onboard for the remainder of this season and next. Imagine a rotation this season for the Pirates of Lee, Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett, Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton/Gerrit Cole?

Three lefties and two righties would be very nice for PNC Park and the top of the rotation would be filled with experience along with shutdown potential. Lee would cost the Pirates quite a bit, probably starting with Hanson and adding some young pitching like Vic Black and Nick Kingham, then filling the back with a Dickerson or even Andrew Lambo.

Let’s go out and get ourselves a David Price from Tampa Bay. Despite the Rays still being in the hunt, Price could be had from the Rays provided the return was so big they couldn’t pass up the offer. On the season, Price is 4-5 with a 4.03 earned-run average in 13 games started. He has two complete games but has given up a .271 average to opposing hitters. Price would cost quite a bit as well, maybe even more than Lee, and is approaching his free-agent years.

I also hear about the Pirates being interested in a whole host of bats on the market from Marlon Byrd of the New York Mets to Kendrys Morales of the Seattle Mariners. But let’s talk about a trade that actually could happen for the Pirates within nine days.

My ideal trades would stem from the Lee deal above, but also the need to add a bat in right field. I believe the Pirates need to make two trades, one for a pitcher and one of a bat. In a perfect world, the Pirates may be able to swing such a deal with one team and possibly give up fewer prospects.

I’d like to see the Pirates make a package trade with the White Sox and net themselves Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. I believe this combination would not cost as much but also would be potentially more beneficial, not only this season but next season as well. To get Peavy and Rios, it would cost the Pirates Glasnow, Hanson, Heredia and Josh Bell.

That combination of four players should be enough to get the deal done. The Pirates would have to suffer quite a hit to their farm system but with Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco still in tow, the black and gold would make themselves better for this season and next, while being able to rebuild from the loss of those prospects. Pull the trigger, Neal!

Tags: 2013 MLB Trade Deadline Alex Rios Cliff Lee Jake Peavy Pittsburgh Pirates

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