The Pirates are discussing relievers John Grabow and Matt Capps with several teams in advance of Major League Baseball's trading deadline Friday.
Of the two, Grabow is more likely to be moved, though that is far from definite. He can become a free agent for the first time in the upcoming winter, while Capps' rights can be retained two more years through arbitration.
With left-handed relief at a premium, interest in Grabow has been consistent if not overwhelming. Among the parties in regular contact with the Pirates are the Chicago Cubs. Teams like what Grabow brings -- a 3.65 ERA, a typically heavy workload with 43 appearances, late-inning resilience and impeccable character -- but there is concern for the long term because of long-known bone chips in his elbow.
The Pirates like all of those traits, too, and have not ruled out trying to sign Grabow, who currently is making $2.3 million, to an extension. The only other left-hander in their bullpen is Rule 5 draft pick Donnie Veal, and there is next to nothing on that front in Class AAA Indianapolis or Class AA Altoona.
Capps would be harder for a team to acquire, so perhaps the Pirates are simply testing the waters to see if a team is willing to overpay for an established -- and largely successful -- closer.
On other trade fronts:
• The Pirates are listening to offers for shortstop Jack Wilson and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, but there has been no large change -- not palpable, anyway -- in the sentiment that they would prefer to keep both. There still have been no new extension talks, though.
• Minnesota had a scout watching the Pirates yesterday in Phoenix, and the Twins are in search of a middle infielder. But the Twins also are reported to be in intense talks to acquire shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland Athletics. Boston, also looking for a middle infielder, was there, too.
• Most potential suitors call about acquiring a starting pitcher, but nothing has changed about the Pirates' stance that they would require a rich return for any of them. No one in management sees anything happening here.
• The Detroit Tigers are interested in catcher Robinzon Diaz, currently with Indianapolis. Others could join that group, given the industry-wide need at the position and the Pirates' depth there.
• Two others in Indianapolis, starters Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny, are drawing interest. Snell had another strong start yesterday, and his ERA after six starts is 0.96. The New York Yankees have watched Snell in his past two starts. Gorzelanny has a 2.46 ERA after 14 starts there and, most important, has shown improved aggressiveness and velocity of late.