Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Starling Marte Could Be Heading to Seattle, Plus More


Jul 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) makes a sliding catch in the outfield against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As Major League Baseball’s trade deadline approaches on Thursday, July 31 at 4 p.m., this is the question swirling in the minds of Pirates Nation: Is general manager Neal Huntington ready to deal?

Last season, Huntington acquired right fielder Marlon Byrd and first baseman Justin Morneau for the Bucs push into October. Back in the here and now, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted Tuesday that Pirates president Frank Coonelly has said the team has the financial flexibility to add payroll this season.

So what could we expect for the Jolly Roger Crew in 2014? Here are three possibilities to consider…

1. Scott Weber of Lookout Landing on SB Nation has reported that Seattle is interested in obtaining Starling Marte from the Pirates. The M’s would have put up one or two of their top prospects like righthander Taijuan Walker or second baseman Nick Franklin in the deal as well as one of their good relievers to have an outside chance of this one happening.

This might not be as far fetched as it sounds. Take a look at it from this angle. Right now, the Bucs braintrust is hoping that Gerrit Cole will get better and Francisco Liriano can find the keys to consistency for wins in August and September. Extra arms on the hill might not hurt.

2. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has tweeted in the last few days that the Pirates along with the Kansas City Royals are among the teams scouting the San Diego Padres’ Ian Kennedy. The righthander has a 3.47 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, which has been his best effort since 2011.

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Could this move be an alternative instead of trying to get either A.J. Burnett or reliever Antonio Bastardo from the Phillies?

3. Should Neal Huntington make a preemptive strike and pull the trigger on a deal for Rays’ left-hander David Price to keep him out of the hands of division rival St. Louis? Will Pittsburgh be willing to part with prospects like outfielder Josh Bell and righthander Tyler Glasnow to keep the Cardinals within their reach in the standings?

Glasnow has improved his record to 5-4 with 82 strikeouts and a 1.91 ERA for the Bradenton Mauraders while Bell is Pittsburgh’s No. 6 prospect and No. 58 overall on MLBPipeline.com’s Top 100 Prospects list.

Pirates fans need to watch the transaction wire. The next few days could be interesting.