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Neal Huntington discusses approach to trade deadline

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Pirates' organization's approach to the trade deadline boils down to balancing "projected current wins versus projected future wins," Huntington said Sunday afternoon.

"We felt less comfortable with last year's club, as silly as it sounds, considering the won-loss record," Huntington said, pointing to the "glaring" needs last year's team had in right field and first base. "As we sit here right now, we've got some internal options that if they step forward we're going to get some quality production from them. But, we'll still look for a way to get better if there is the right opportunity."

The right opportunity, however, might be hard to find, as the trade market is tight and there are not many players the Pirates see as upgrades.

"There [are] not a lot of teams looking to sell. There are a lot of teams that are looking to buy. There's not a ton of players out there that are significant upgrades. There are some guys that you think can be. So, as a result the asking prices are higher than you'd like them to be."

Huntington returned to one point repeatedly -- that the organization feels it has internal options and that the biggest boost could come from guys already on the team improving their performance.

"[W]e also believe that we have some guys internally that if we can help make a slight adjustment or help get them on the right track, then our own internal improvements might be our biggest upgrade," Huntington said.

Russell Martin and Neil Walker extensions?

Huntington would not comment on whether the club is involved with negotiations with either player.

"We just don't feel that is in anybody's best interest to talk about whether negotiations are on-going, or the quality of negotiations, or if they are on-going publicly," he said. "We certainly expect both of those players to have significant impact on us as we work to win this division and get back into the postseason and get deep into the postseason. And we'll see where we go from there."

Huntington bullish on the starting rotation, but willing to look for upgrade

The Pirates starting rotation is seen by many as a potential weakness for the club in the second half. Huntington said that the team will look for upgrades, but he sees the potential for the rotation to be a strength going forward.

"If we get Gerrit Cole healthy. Liriano, if you get him his last three or four innings of his last couple of outings versus the first inning you've got a very good starting pitcher on our hands. Charlie, one pitch, you know a great outing other than one pitch, he's very capable. And, Jeff Locke has probably been our best starter in for awhile. But there are guys out there that can make us better, and we'll continue to look for that."

Adrian Sampson's near-no-no

"I was not there, but our staff talked about it," Huntington said. "It was as good as it seemed like it was. Absolutely attacked the strike zone. Kept the ball down, moved the ball in and out. Went up with purpose when he wanted to. Threw both off-speed pitches for strikes, but commanded the fastball and got a ton of weak contact. So it was fun to see. "