Bob Smizik: No-deal Neal!

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Despite a multitude of needs, the Pirates, though oft-mentioned, apparently have not made a deal at the non-waiver trading deadline, which was 4 p.m. today.

That does not mean General Manager Neal Huntington can’t acquire additional talent Friday or next week or any time until Aug. 31. But the failure to add when there was such a flurry of trades today is disappointing. Players acquired after today must first pass through waivers.

The Pirates are not doomed to fall out of the National League Central and wild-card races due to this inactivity. They are still very well positioned. But they could have been better positioned.

Typically, the Pirates were reported to be involved with many players, notably pitchers Jon Lester of Boston and David Price of Tampa Bay. Lester went to Oakland and Price to the Detroit Tigers, in what was the biggest deal of the day. The fact the Pirates were mentioned in connection with both of these players does not mean they were serious suitors.

Bullpen: Everyone figured it was a given the Pirates would add here, where there was a true need. There was an abundance of relievers reportedly available. For the time being, the Pirates will continue with three reliable relievers -- Mark Melancon, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes. That’s a serious handicap for manager Clint Hurdle who likes to fully utilize his bullpen.

Starting rotation: With the extremely high asking price for pitchers like Lester and Price, it was unlikely the Pirates would commit the necessary talent to make such a deal. It’s not how they do business, and to expect a change at this point in time was unlikely. The Pirates remain a team with a good rotation, if Francisco Liriano continues to pitch as he has and Gerrit Cole regains his late 2013 form. As of now, though, their rotation is not nearly as good as that of the Dodgers or the Cardinals.

Offense: With Gregory Polanco slumping and with Starling Marte on the DL and in the midst of a disappointing year, the Pirates could have used another bat. At the least, they needed help on the bench. They got nothing.

The Pirates begin a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight.


First Published July 31, 2014 12:00 AM

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