The five most likely to be traded

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The Pirates' new management has made clear its plan to trade experienced players for prospects in an attempt to restock the minor-league system. Here are the five most likely candidates to go:

Jason Bay

Contract status: Making $5.75 million this season, $7.5 million in 2009, after which he can declare free agency.

Shopping activity: The Pirates discussed deals this offseason with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers, to no avail. The closest call was a five-player trade proposal with Indians that the Pirates nixed because no prospects were coming their way. Teams generally were wary of Bay because of his down 2007 and recent knee trouble.

Outlook: The Pirates are hoping Bay can climb back to 2004-06 form and, in turn, provide the greatest possible net of prospects if dealt. But, because of other teams' wariness, activity on this front might not materialize until close to the July deadline.

Xavier Nady

Contract status: Making $3.35 million this season and is arbitration-eligible again in 2009, after which he can declare free agency.

Shopping activity: A deal for Nady came close to fruition in December, though the other party remains unknown. As with Bay, other teams were wary of his recent injury history -- notably the strained hamstring, a problem that can linger for years -- and were not convinced he can be an everyday player. The suitors were mostly the same as Bay's.

Outlook: Most see Nady as first to go, if only because he is blocking prospect Steve Pearce, who was moved this spring to full-time outfield duty. The New York Mets could use a corner outfielder and first baseman -- Nady's two positions -- but there appears to be no good match for a trade.

Damaso Marte

Contract status: Making $2 million this season. Has $6 million club option for 2009. If team declines to exercise it, he gets $250,000 buyout and can declare free agency.

Shopping activity: The Pirates expected to lure lots of interest in Marte after an exceptional 2007 in which he might have been the best left-on-left reliever in baseball. Many teams, notably the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, did inquire. But neither came close to the Pirates' asking price.

Outlook: It is highly unlikely, because of his contract, that Marte will remain with the Pirates beyond the deadline. The Yankees continue to be interested, and others could join the pool based on need.

Matt Morris

Contract status: Making $9.5 million this season. Has $9 million club option for 2009. If team declines to exercise it, he gets $1 million buyout and can declare free agency.

Shopping activity: The Pirates aggressively shopped Morris' unwieldy contract -- which will consume roughly 20 percent of their payroll -- but had no bites.

Outlook: If he performs as well in the first half as he did for the San Francisco Giants to open 2007, it would not take much to get the Pirates engaged in trade talks.

Jack Wilson

Contract status: Making $6.5 million this season, $7.25 million the next. Has $8.4 million club option for 2010. If team declines to exercise it, he gets $600,000 buyout and can declare free agency.

Shopping activity: Previous management was close to a deal with the Detroit Tigers that would have netted two pitching prospects, including highly promising Jair Jurrjens, now with Atlanta. New management entertained offers, too, early in the offseason, but none comparable to the one with Jurrjens.

Outlook: Although ears will remain open, the Pirates almost certainly need to get a shortstop back before moving Wilson. There is no sure-fire, everyday shortstop at any level of the system.



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