There seems to be two scenarios posters and fans can be grouped into:
1. Lets get somebody that can help us now so we get to/over .500 and MAYBE compete this year
2. Lets make a move to better us for two or three years down the road
Now, I would ask why can't it be both with one trade, but I really don't think it can be. In order for it to be both, you would have to get either a young established player with years of control, i.e. Starlin Castro or an expensive vet that is signed for multiple years, i.e. Miguel Cabrera. Since a team like the Cubs would require a ransom, as they should, I don't the Pirates could even match the price if they wanted. With a team like the Tigers, who might be willing to give up a Cabrera for a nice package, the Pirates simply can't afford to spend $20 million on one player.
So lets look at how these trades would make us better overall by looking at specific players (JJDurney should like that).
Mlbtraderumors reported that Ryan Ludwick is a trade candidate. He's playing in Petco, which we all know what that means for hitters. He's currently 32 and he has a line of .266/.336/.469 since 4/20 with 9 dongs and 10 doubles, again I remind you that he play in Petco Park half of the time.
Since he is in the last year of his contract, he would obviously be free to sign with anybody he wants after the season, yes even our Buccos. He is currently making $6.78 million, which would be pro-rated based on trade date. IMO, his lack of control makes him less valuable to most teams, but not the Buccos. The Bucs would be adding him for this year only, and if they liked what they saw, they could go after him in FA.
So what would it take to Ludwick? I'm not an expert in deciding value, but I based off of what Tim at piratesprospects.com has done with Hanny, Maholm, etc. and their trade values, I would think Ludwick is probably outside the realm of a top 100 prospect, well below in fact.
My proposition for Ludwick...A C-level prospect (Gorkys Hernandez) + Cash.
Now lets look at making a trade to make us better in a couple of years.
Again, using piratesprospects.com evaluations we can assume that Maholm could bring a top 51-100 pitching prospect or a top 75-100 bat. Hanrahan could bring a top 50 pitching prospect, but lets not assume a top 10, or a top 51-100 bat.
So we are then left to look at teams with needs in those areas. According to mlbtraderumors.com one team looking for starting pitching are the Yankees, so we'll look at them as a trade partner for Paul Maholm.
At the beginning of the year, the Yankees had one pitching prospect that meets those requirements #78 Andrew Brackman RHP/eta 2011/grade of 70, and they have one position player that fits that bill #98 Austin Romine C/2011/60.
This year Brackman has struggled. His walk rate is too high at 6.9/9, his WHiP is too high at 1.74 and he's not going deep into games, barely over 5ip a game. Brackman is 26.
Romine, on the other hand, has improved this year. His biggest tool, according to BA was his arm, but his offense has seen a jump from previous years. His line of .298/.362/.421 is a marked improvement, however he is repeating AA. Romine is only 22.
So in order for us to make a Maholm trade with the Yankees, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Brackman+a lower level prospect OR Romine.
We've all seen the Texas rumors for Hanrahan, so lets stick with them and use piratesprospects.com requirements and see what they have. In the postion player prospects they have one in #74 Jurikson Profar SS/2013/60. In the top 10-50 pitching prospects they have #24 Martin Perez LHP/2012/65.
This year Martin has pitched well in AA. His walk rate is 3.52/9, his WHiP is 1.32, he's averaging 5.45 innings pitcher per start and he's striking just about one batter per inning.
Profar has had a good year with the bat for somebody that was considered more defensive player by BA. His line is .269/.378/.490. His home run total (6), triple total (5) and walk total (32) have already surpassed his previous year's totals in less games. He is one double and one stolen base from equalling his previous year's totals, again in less games.
So I think it is obvious that a trade for Profar would a great idea and Martin would be a solid get as well.
So I ask you, should we keep Maholm and Hanny and add Ludwick or would you prefer to see them both go and bring Brackman+/Romine or Profar/Martin?