The Pirates added to their need for right-handed relief today by trading Salomon Torres to the Milwaukee Brewers for prospects Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts.
Salas, a 26-year-old right-handed reliever, had 17 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 51 appearances last season, split between Class AA Huntsville and Class AAA Nashville. He has 82 saves and a 3.59 career ERA in six minor-league seasons.
Roberts, a 23-year-old right-handed reliever, had a 3.44 ERA in 45 appearances last season for Brevard County in high Class A. After being Milwaukee's fifth-round pick in the 2005 draft, he has 12 saves and a 4.07 ERA in 101 appearances, including 19 starts.
General Manager Neal Huntington called Salas and Roberts "two young relief pitchers who provide us with quality depth, options and multiple years of control," but neither is expected to be ready to contribute to the Pirates next season.
The Pirates already lost one key right-hander out of the bullpen, Shawn Chacon, to free agency. This move leaves them with only left-handers John Grabow and Damaso Marte as reliable, late-inning relievers.
Torres, 35, ranked 10th on the franchise list for appearances with 358, thanks largely to remarkable durability. But he took a step backward in that regard last season, losing his job as closer early in the summer, losing time to elbow tendonitis and ending up 2-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 56 appearances.
He spent most of the past six seasons in Pittsburgh and was one of the few players who made his year-round home in the area.
"Salomon Torres had a solid career with the Pirates, and we wish him well in the future," Huntington said.
Neither of the prospects has to be added to the 40-man roster, which is now at 39. The Pirates can use that spot to sign utility infielder Chris Gomez, with whom Huntington said the team is close to a contract.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.