- Jayson Stark writes that the Pirates are among four teams that are aggressively pursuing Padres 3B Chase Headley, but does add that they are less motivated to make a deal at the current moment than they were before. Headley might be the best available hitter in this year’s deadline. His .267/.359/.428 line may not seem all that great, but his .277/.374/.497 road splits are. Keep in mind Headley plays in the worst hitter’s park in baseball.
- Ken Rosenthal tweeted out that the Pirates are “not currently optimistic about their search for a hitter.” He added that there are very few impact bats available, and the ones that are come with a very high price tag. However, the market can be pretty volatile leading up to the deadline.
- Pirates.com beat writer Tom Singer said today that closer Joel Hanrahan could be a part of a “blockbuster” deal with teams willing to give up “two Major League bats for him.” Charlie from Bucs Dugout wrote a good piece about Hanrahan’s season, which if you look at his performances has actually been pretty disappointing. If a team is willing to deal “two bats” for Hanrahan and those bats are actually good bats, then I don’t see how you would not make that trade. Now, I don’t think any sane GM would trade two quality ML hitters for a closer, but who knows? Ned Colletti still runs a team last time I checked, so anything is possible.
Final: Pirates 5, Astros 3
Starling Marte‘s career couldn’t have started off any better. Making his Major League debut, leading off in left field, Marte homered to left center field on the very first pitch he ever saw in the big leagues.
That was just the beginning of what would become a two-inning barrage by the Bucs. Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer later in the first inning and Clint Barmes hit a two-run shot in the second. That would be all the Pirates would score, but it was more than enough as A.J. Burnett rolled through the Astros’ lineup, picking up his 12th win of the season.
The Astros hit two homers off Burnett in the eighth, and he exited with only those two runs given up over 7 1/3 innings. Brad Lincoln got the final two outs of the frame before giving way to Joel Hanrahan, who recorded his 30th save. Hanrahan did give up a run on a single, a walk, and two wild pitches, however.
Marte’s homer on the first pitch he saw was the first time a Pirate has accomplished that feat since Walter Mueller did the same in 1922. Marte also singled in his third at-bat of the game to finish up the night 2 for 4.
It was announced earlier in the day that Wandy Rodriguez will start for the Pirates on Saturday against his former team. Kevin Correia will head to the Pirates bullpen. I would also expect that the Pirates will try to move Correia in the coming days.
Gorkys Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A before the start of the game to officially make room for Marte.
The Pirates started off their trade season with acquiring Wandy Rodriguez yesterday, but they probably aren’t done.
- Jon Heyman reports that the market for Chase Headley is “extremely strong” and he is likely to be dealt in the next week. As many as ten teams have inquired on the 28-year old, with the Pirates being one of the more aggressive ones. Joel Sherman of the NY Post says that there are teams willing to part with high-end prospects for Headley.
- Talks between the Pirates and Shane Victorino stalled when Philadelphia asked for Brad Lincoln in return, tweets Rob Biertempfel. Apparently the Pirates offered Jared Hughes and a “minor leaguer.” I wouldn’t give up Lincoln for Victorino, either.
The Pirates announced today that Evan Meek has been optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis after a brief stint that covered two appearances and 1 1/3 innings in which he gave up one hit and three walks.
Meek’s season has been a huge disappointment this season, but thanks to the emergence of Jason Grilli, he hasn’t been missed all that much.
He’s been better in Triple-A, posting a 2.21 ERA, but has still struggled with his command, shown by his 30:23 K:BB rate in 36 2/3 innings.
The Pirates will still have to make one more move to finish making room for newly promoted Starling Marte and newly acquired Wandy Rodriguez. If I had to make a guess, I would say it would be Gorkys Hernandez heading back to Indianapolis, but we probably won’t find out until tomorrow.