The Pirates are following the market for starting pitching, Bill Brink writes.
Despite Huntington saying unlikely Pirates add SP, they're monitoring market. Have to be after Burnetts past 3 starts, Morton's past 5— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 31, 2015
Haren (expiring contract) makes sense. Ross, Cashner too, controllable, but will require more.— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 31, 2015
Haren has apparently just been traded to the Cubs, so that isn't happening. Beyond that, it's not hard to understand why the Bucs would have interest in acquiring pitchers. As I've said here before, I think Ross, in particular, would be ideal, since that would set their rotation well both for now and for the near future -- Ross isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season. Unfortunately, he's going to cost an arm and a leg to acquire.
Beyond that, what the Pirates should do depends on some things I can't know about. Is the recent decline in Burnett's stuff related to some sort of problem a DL stint might solve, for example? If so, acquiring more of a short-term starting pitcher would make sense. If not, well ... Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke are out of options, and Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano aren't going anywhere. And if Burnett's fully healthy, then the Pirates' best solution might be to ride or die with him, since he was so transcendently good at the beginning of the year, and since his overall numbers still are fine. I'd certainly be watching the starting pitching market if I were Neal Huntington, but actually striking a deal for someone might be trickier.