SB Nation's Twins blog is talking about the possibility of trading starting pitcher Kevin Slowey for Joel Hanrahan after Tim Dierkes mentioned it yesterday, and tobynotjason just mentioned this in a fanshot.
I think such a trade would be defensible, but I probably wouldn't do it. The main reason is that there's really no urgency for the Pirates to add major-league-ready starting pitching right now. They already have three fairly legitimate major-league starters in James McDonald, Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf in their rotation, plus two more in Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln who are at least interesting. I wasn't a big fan of the Kevin Correia signing, but they have him too. Their rotation in Indianapolis is going to be packed with legitimate prospects, and it hopefully won't be too long before Rudy Owens, at least, is ready for a rotation job. And there's a ton of pitching in the minors below that. If the Pirates were to trade Hanrahan (which I think they certainly will and should consider doing, but hopefully not until after he establishes himself as a "closer"), I would hope they would get younger players and/or hitters.
The Bucs' pitchers certainly aren't good, but they aren't nearly as bad as a glance at their ERAs would make it look. Once they get competent defenders behind their pitchers, they'll start to look a lot better. Starting pitching may appear to be a glaring need for the Pirates, but it's not.
But, hey - the Pirates are bad. They can use upgrades everywhere, and if they can acquire the right starting pitcher for a reliever, they should probably pull the trigger, even if starting pitching isn't their most pressing need.
So is Slowey the right starting pitcher? Maybe. He allows a ton of fly balls, so he would be a decent fit for the Pirates, who have a terrible infield defense, and for PNC Park, which suppresses homers. The problem is that Target Field, where Slowey played last year, appears to suppress homers to an even greater degree, and Slowey had an .846 OPS against on the road last year. Also, for his career, he's significantly worse against lefties (although that trend did not hold last year), who at PNC Park will be better prepared than righties to turn Slowey's fly balls allowed into homers. (Lefties have a .486 slugging percentage against him for his career.)
With all that said, Slowey is a perfectly functional starting pitcher who struck out four times as many guys as he walked last year, and he has posted average-ish ERAs as a starter despite having some serious butchers like Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer behind him in the outfield. (He's also a local guy, if that means anything.) If the Pirates were to deal Hanrahan for him, I could accept that. (Not that I've heard any evidence that they're actually considering it.) But Slowey is already in his first year of arbitration, so most of his value for the Bucs will come from their potentially being able to flip him later. If the Pirates are going to trade Hanrahan, I'd rather have younger guys, and/or players with more apparent upside.