Pirates' options for Wilson trade dwindle

Dodgers, possibly last suitor, show no sign of fresh interest

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It is shaping up as if the Pirates might not be able to trade Jack Wilson this offseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers appeared to lose out on an attempt to re-sign free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, who yesterday agreed to terms with the Atlanta Braves, though the Dodgers last night were maintaining they still were in the running. The agreement with the Braves calls for three years guaranteed at $30 million.

The Pirates had anticipated that the Dodgers losing Furcal would lead to rekindled interest in Wilson after about two weeks without talks between those teams, but no contact was known to have been made in either direction yesterday.

As for anyone else: The Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays also had been part of the bidding for Furcal and still are seeking shortstops. But there has been no indication of interest in Wilson from the Athletics or Royals, and the Blue Jays definitely are not interested.

Furcal chose Atlanta's offer -- or so it appeared -- over a more valuable one from Oakland that included another year at the same pay rate because, according to agent Paul Kinzer, Furcal wanted to return to the Braves, the team that signed him as an amateur.

A source in Los Angeles last night confirmed that the Dodgers' Plan B is not Wilson but free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera, with contact already having been made with Cabrera's agent, Danny Lozano. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told reporters that a trade still was a possibility but stressed that his team could use prospect Chin-lung Hu at the position.

Omar Vizquel, still a defensive wizard at age 41, also is available.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has maintained all offseason that he would have no issue with bringing back Wilson for 2009 if he could not find a trade that made "good baseball sense." The closest they have come is with the Dodgers, who reached the point where all parties discussed Wilson restructuring his contract to go to Los Angeles. But the Dodgers would not part with a third prospect on top of Hu and outfielder Delwyn Young.

Wilson, 30, is due $7.25 million next year, with the club option at $8.4 million and a $600,000 buyout.


Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog .


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