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Pirates trade rumors: Bucs have considered Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have considered dealing for Mike Napoli and/or Shane Victorino of the Red Sox, Rob Biertempfel tweets.

Napoli hasn't hit this year, but he has a few things going for him. He's got a good offensive track record, first of all, and a vanishingly small .247 BABIP this year (although with some disconcerting trends in his batted-ball data). He's right-handed, so he can complement Pedro Alvarez, assuming the Pirates don't trade Alvarez in the next week. Also, he's solid defensively. There's no reason for the Red Sox to expect to get much for him, either, so the Pirates should, at least theoretically, expect to get him fairly cheaply, likely with the Red Sox even taking on some of the approximately $8 million remaining on his contract.

I find the Victorino rumor a bit harder to understand. Like Napoli, Victorino is an aging righty who's in the midst of a poor season and will be a free agent this winter. Unlike Napoli, who hit well in 2014, Victorino hasn't hit much for the past two years. He's a pretty good defender with at least a bit of on-base ability, and so perhaps he could provide a little help off the bench, especially since he's hit lefties very well in his career. Of course, the same was true of Corey Hart before the Pirates acquired him, and he had a lot of the same warning signs (injuries, advancing age and diminished performance) that Victorino now does.

The key to these deals, I think, is that they'd be minor. Theoretically, you'd like the Bucs to do better than Napoli to upgrade at first base, but there aren't a lot of great options available, and Napoli's right-handedness would allow the Pirates to continue to hope Alvarez's offense, at least, rounds into form. And Victorino would pretty strictly be a bench player.