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Pirates trade rumors: Phillies scouting Bucs' Double-A team

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are scouting the Altoona Curve, Rob Biertempfel reports.

These kinds of reports are interesting, but it's tough to assess their significance. The Curve currently includes prospects like Josh Bell, Max Moroff, Stetson Allie, Gift Ngoepe and Steven Brault.

The Phillies' attractive trade pieces include Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, maybe Ken Giles, and ... um ... hm. The Pirates could use an upgrade at first base, but Ryan Howard, with his strikeout issues and lack of defensive ability, really isn't that. So it's tricky to figure out who the Phillies have that the Pirates might reasonably pursue. Hamels is great, but there's no recent precedent for the Pirates taking on a contract that size. And pretty much any team could use Papelbon, but I'm sure the Phillies would expect a team to overpay for Papelbon's closer pedigree, and I don't see the Pirates doing that.