By Jared Lankes
It has been reported by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish that the Pirates are one of the teams that have inquired on the Tampa Bay Rays starting pitching. They have seemingly made Matt Moore, Drew Smyly, Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer available.
This goes in line with what Neal Huntington said Friday regarding the rotation, where he candidly said that the team could add as well as subtract pitching at the trade deadline. It appears that they are surveying the market for improvements over Jon Niese, and to a lesser extent, Jeff Locke. While it shouldn’t be hard to find improvements over those two, you’d be shocked.
The Rays control a ton of the starting pitching market based on these three. With Alex Cobb, seemingly never healthy, returning, they could trade one. However, they may feel inclined to deal more with the peak interest they are receiving. For the Pirates, Matt Moore and Drew Smyly seem like much likelier targets. While all of them are cheap and controllable, the Pirates may be able to figure out a way to deal for one of those two. Given Huntington’s past, it might be Matt Moore. Moore is a controllable lefty, which the Pirates love to acquire (which is what I said regarding Drew Pomeranz). Though, it could make sense to buy somewhat lower on Smyly, even if he’s not a big-time starter.
The Rays might want to deal from their depth right now and pack it up for future years. You really never know with Rays GM Matt Silverman, who at times is known for running a whacky operation. We will see if this is serious stuff for the Pirates or just due dillegence on their part.