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News Roundup

-P- Neal Huntington says he's fine with the Pirates' five starting pitchers. What's odd is that he's admitting this, and he's further admitting that this has caused him problems in getting free agent pitchers:

Moreover, as Huntington acknowledged, "a number" of free-agent starters -- mostly at the minor-league level -- based their decisions to sign with other teams because they knew of the Pirates' upfront commitment to their starting five.

That might explain why Chad Durbin, a free-agent right-hander the Pirates liked, chose Philadelphia last month and signed for one year at $900,000. Phillies general manager Pat Gillick told reporters at the time that Durbin was "in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation," along with injured Adam Eaton and Rule 5 draft pick Travis Blackley.

Why would Huntington do this? And what would be the problem with telling a Chad Durbin that he could potentially make the rotation (and then actually giving him that chance)? I wouldn't root for him to win a spot, but Zach Duke and Matt Morris did little for the Bucs last year to confirm they deserved one. So, first, why be complacent and, second, why admit your complacency to prospective signees? And then why admit to the press that this is a problem?

-P- The A's have dealt outfielder Nick Swisher to the White Sox for pitchers Fautino De Los Santos and Gio Gonzalez and outfielder Ryan Sweeney. For the A's, this trade hinges on De Los Santos, who's an extremely high-upside guy with great stuff who blew away Class A last year. He's a potential star, but 21-year-old Class A pitchers are risky indeed. Gonzalez (who's already been traded from the Sox to the Phillies in the Jim Thome deal, then back to the Sox in the Freddy Garcia trade) is no slouch either, though - he had a great year repeating in AA and could soon be a productive starter. Sweeney's been stalled in AAA for a while now, but he could have some kind of future as a role player. The A's needed to get a lot for a player like Swisher, who's cheap and reasonably young and good, and they did.

For the White Sox, this trade is harder to understand. They didn't really get ripped off or anything, but they won 72 games last year and their division rivals in Cleveland and Detroit should be terrific for at least the next two years. The Sox themselves should be looking to rebuild, not helping other teams do so.