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Pirates still interested in Alex Rios, perhaps also Alexei Ramirez

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USA TODAY Sports

We heard last week that the Pirates were interested in Alex Rios of the White Sox, and Jon Heyman writes that they still are. They may also be interested in shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

I agree that it makes sense to pursue a right fielder, and I think Rios would be an upgrade, thanks at least in part to his baserunning and defense (neither of which Jose Tabata is particularly good at). Rios' hitting comes and goes. The questions would be what the Bucs give up, and whether the White Sox include money in the deal, or how much. Rios has a $12.5 million salary for 2013 and again for 2014. There's also a $1 million buyout on a $13.5 million option for 2015.

Like Rios, Ramirez also gets a lot of his value from baserunning and defense, and his bat is erratic. He's under contract through 2015 and is owed $20.5 million after this season. He and Rios do project to be improvements on Jordy Mercer and Tabata, but only by about a total of one win over the rest of the season. (Keeping in mind that it's possible Rios goes on a tear, of course.) I wouldn't mind having Rios or Ramirez, but I wouldn't want the Pirates trading good prospects to get them. A couple weeks ago, Jim Bowden proposed that the Pirates trade Gregory Polanco, Nick Kingham and Mercer to get Rios and Ramirez. That would be certifiably insane.