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Winter meetings Monday: Time to sell?

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Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The first full day of the winter meetings gets underway today amid a moderate amount of activity by . . . teams other than the Pirates. The Cubs have added Brandon Morrow. The Cards have added Luke Gergerson and are reportedly hot after Alex Colome. The Pirates aren’t rumored as yet to be after anybody.

Trade rumors are another matter, but even that’s pretty mild compared to a year ago, when Andrew McCutchen was all but gone by this point. There’s continued talk that the Mets and Jays are interested in Josh Harrison. There’s this, although it’s two weeks old, from probably the least credible source not elected to office:

Then there’s this bit of speculation:

There’s very little direct evidence of the direction the Pirates will take beyond Neal Huntington’s warnings at Piratesfest that the team may make moves that fans won’t like. Of course, the absence of rumors may say something in itself, as moves by the current front office have tended over the years to come out of the blue. When a McCutchen trade to Washington seemed certain last year, it didn’t happen. In fact, stories afterward suggested it was never close to happening.

Personally, I think rebuilding is by far the most realistic course for the Pirates because I don’t think the current core and the farm system are strong enough to support a contender, even with the kind of additions the team could realistically make. A “spending spree” for the Pirates would be adding about $20M in 2018 payroll to pick up a third baseman and a reliever or two. Would Neil Walker or Todd Frazier plus a couple of relivers make a team with average pitching and baseball’s third worst offense a contender? I don’t think so.

UPDATE: