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Pirates trade rumors: Bucs inquired about Ben Zobrist, Clint Barmes, Cliff Pennington

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have inquired about the Athletics' Ben Zobrist, the Padres' Clint Barmes and the Diamondbacks' Cliff Pennington as ways of addressing their injury woes, Bill Brink writes. All three players would be rentals, and money would not be a significant issue with any of them.

The Pirates can, obviously, use a shortstop or third baseman. They have an especially acute need in the short term with Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison out, but could also continue to use any player they acquire once Mercer and Harrison return.

Clearly, Zobrist would be the best addition of the three, since he's a good hitter and could play a variety of infield or outfield positions depending on the needs of the team. Given his reputation and talent and the high price the Athletics paid to get him, though, he would also likely cost a lot. He's also had knee issues this season.

Barmes would be a nice lower-cost addition -- he's proven he fits well with the Pirates' infield defense strategy, and he's a quality defensive shortstop. He's still a poor offensive player, of course.

Pennington would be another low-cost option. He doesn't hit well, but he plays plus defense, and his ability to draw walks gives him a floor offensively.

It would be hard to find fault with the Pirates adding Barmes or Pennington at what I assume would be a very low price, since they could help the Pirates with their defense, even given their poor offense. A lineup with, say, Barmes at shortstop and Jung-Ho Kang at third would probably be no worse offensively and much better defensively than one with Kang at shortstop and Sean Rodriguez and Brent Morel at the hot corner. Zobrist would be a far more exciting option, but much would depend on the price -- he's set to become a free agent after the season, and I don't want the Pirates giving up top prospects for a rental.