With July eight days away, it’s time for baseball’s trade season to heat up and assuming that the Pirates can keep playing well, they’re likely going to be in the middle of things again this year. It looks for now like the first big trade piece of the season to fall will be Kevin Youkilis, though the Pirates apparently haven’t shown much interest in Youk despite having scouts at Red Sox games recently.
I’m fine with that, really. I’m guessing that Huntington will either be focusing on prying a younger player that will be a Pirate for a while from someone, or on a Derrek Lee type rental player as the deadline approaches. Youkilis doesn’t really fit either mold, since he figures to be a little more expensive than a typical rental. Youkilis is 33, battling injuries, declining, and has a $13 million option for 2012. I’d probably be focusing elsewhere if I were Neal Huntington, too.
That said, a Youkilis trade would indicate that the wheels are turning, and that means that the Pirates will probably find themselves involved in something in the near future. Buckle up.
UPDATE: Rob Biertempfel says on Twitter that the Pirates are in fact interested and that they’d probably consider something like the Burnett trade; a middling prospect of value dependent on how much of Youkilis’s salary the Red Sox are willing to eat.