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Ask Bucs Dugout: On the trade deadline and Gregory Polanco contract talks

Joe Sargent

Thanks, everyone, for the questions. Keep them coming and I'll do another round tomorrow.

Everybody: What do you think the Pirates will/should do at the deadline?

The Pirates still have a month of baseball to play before the deadline hits, and I think they should use it to figure out where they're going. If they have a bad month and Francisco Liriano proves he's healthy, I think they should consider trading him. If they have a good month, I still doubt they'll make huge trades. They don't usually, for one thing. Another problem is that in contrast with, say, 2011, there aren't that many obvious holes. That isn't to say the 2014 Pirates are a dream team, only that there aren't many positions where you could acquire someone for a reasonable price who would obviously be a big upgrade. (Right field clearly was one, but the Pirates had a solution for that problem internally.) Shortstop is a possibility, but most of the bad teams also have bad shortstops, and Troy Tulowitzki and Starlin Castro aren't going anywhere. Maybe Alexei Ramirez will be available. The rotation is a possibility, but the Bucs have done well there recently, Liriano should return sometime soon and Nick Kingham could provide late-season help if needed.

That leaves the bullpen, and this is where I think the Pirates are most likely to make a deal. If you're the GM of a contending team in July, a shaky bullpen is a good problem to have, because it should be pretty cheap to address it. In fact, since the Pirates should be able to get a good reliever without giving up a top prospect, they can do so without much concern for their playoff chances or their future as an organization. That said, the bullpen could be better in the second half without making more trades -- the losses of what Bryan Morris and Jason Grilli provided are addition by subtraction (although Morris has pitched quite well so far in Miami), and I'm somewhat hopeful that Ernesto Frieri and Stolmy Pimentel can step up.

Schide: Can someone direct me to place where we were talking about this article from yesterday on here because I couldn’t find anything about it? Unless it just wasn’t worth talking about for some reason?

I read it and rolled my eyes at the headline, which was written by someone (not Rob Biertempfel, I assume) who either doesn't understand how baseball contracts work or was trying to be sensational. It wasn't a $75 million contract offer. It was an eight-year offer for some undetermined amount, with a bunch of options at the end. In other words, it was similar to the offer that Jeff Passan reported in May. It was probably an upgrade on that offer, but we don't even know that for sure, and we don't know by how much, so it's impossible to evaluate it. If the article had contained the minimum guaranteed number, I would have written about that. Without it, we didn't know how much risk the Pirates would have been assumed, so there wasn't much to say.

McCutchen is the Truth: On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being horrendous and 10 being genius, how smart would it be to do the following?: Trade for David Price or Jeff Samardzija, use them for half a year, and then trade them in the offseason, theoretically recouping a large amount of the prospect value spent in the original trade.

3? Points for creativity, but what happens if you trade half your farm system for Price and then he has an elbow injury? And what happens if, in the offseason, the availability of Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester diminishes Price's trade market?

Bucco4Life: Who do you think will be the next top prospect to be called up? Will it be this year?

Nick Kingham. I could easily see it being this year, particularly if the Pirates have trouble with injuries or Jeff Locke and Vance Worley suddenly turn back into Jeff Locke and Vance Worley.