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Pirates rumors: Bucs have interest in Antonio Bastardo

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates are among the teams pursuing Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, Jim Salisbury writes. This makes sense -- with the departure of Justin Wilson, the Pirates need a lefty, and they've been connected to Bastardo before.

Bastardo is a fly ball pitcher who walks a few too many batters, but he offsets all that with an outstanding strikeout rate, whiffing 11.4 batters per nine innings last season. He's not a flamethrower, but his fastball and slider are both plus pitches. He's gotten fairly good results against both lefties and righties throughout his career and was more successful against righties last season.

Bastardo's salary last year was $2 million, so he shouldn't be too expensive through the arbitration process next year. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, so he shouldn't be too costly in a trade, although who knows what the Phillies might think about that. Fun fact: the player news headlines on Bastardo's page at Baseball Reference list his name as "Antonio ****o."