Surprisingly contending Pirates looking to made deals at trade deadline | Larry Stone notebook
The word at the All-Star Game is that the Pirates, with a two-decade streak of losing seasons, are going to go all out to maximize their...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The word at the All-Star Game is that the Pirates, with a two-decade streak of losing seasons, are going to go all out to maximize their chances of making the playoffs.
That apparently means general manager Neal Huntington has been given carte blanche to go after any player he wants, no matter the price tag.
That's a stunning departure for the Pirates, who usually are the ones dumping their star players at the trade deadline. But they reached the break in first place in the NL Central with a 48-37 record — second best in the National League — and believing they have a legitimate shot at their first postseason berth (and winning season) since 1992.
They wouldn't mind upgrading their offense, and have been linked to Justin Upton, but hope that minor-leaguer Starling Marte might be able to step in soon as the everyday right fielder.
Now their focus seems to be on getting a proven starting pitcher, and no one is off limits. Names they reportedly have inquired about include Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.
They hope to get it done without having to part with top pitching prospects Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia — particularly after failing to sign their first-round pick, Mark Appel of Stanford.
Hagadone's costly break
Sumner's Nick Hagadone, who pitched at the University of Washington, is likely done for the season after undergoing surgery Tuesday for a broken left forearm.
Hagadone, an Indians reliever, reportedly suffered the injury when he punched a wall after being removed from a game July 8 against Tampa Bay.
Now a battle is brewing over whether he should get paid. The Indians optioned Hagadone to Class AAA Columbus after the game and placed him on the minor-league disqualified list. Players on the disqualified list don't get paid. Hagadone's split contract calls for him to earn $480,500 when he's in the majors, and $78,250 when he's in the minors.
Michael Weiner, head of the Major League Players Association, told the Baseball Writers Association of America at their All-Star meeting that the union is prepared to intervene on Hagadone's behalf. It has threatened to file a grievance if Hagadone doesn't receive the full major-league amount called for on his next payday, which is Sunday.
"If Nick is not paid what he in our view is supposed to be paid on July 15, then we'll have a fight about it," Weiner told the BBWAA.
The Indians, meanwhile, are down a left-handed reliever.
"A big part of this game is being able to control your emotions," Indians manager Manny Acta told Cleveland reporters. "Nick was frustrated and he hurt himself, but I think he learned a lesson."
Notes and quotes
• Nice moment on Friday when close friends, and high-school teammates, Adam Jones of the Orioles and Quintin Berry of the Tigers played against each other for the first time.
While Jones has been a major-leaguer since 2006, Berry, 27, kicked around the minors for several years — seven, to be exact, with five organizations — before finally getting called up earlier this season. "My biggest dream since he got to the big leagues was to get the opportunity to play against him one day," Berry told the Detroit Free Press.
Jones and Berry played together at Morse High School in San Diego, then went their separate ways in their baseball careers. But they always remained close.
"He's been pushed around a little bit in the minors," Jones said. "The man's heart never let him stop playing."
• Nick Castellanos, 20, has been regarded as the Tigers' third baseman of the future. But they have Miguel Cabrera at that position, so now Castellanos — the MVP of the Futures Game in Kansas City — is moving to the outfield with Class AA Erie. Don't be surprised if Castellanos cracks the Tigers' lineup at some point in the second half.
• Cubs GM Jed Hoyer will be a busy man the next two weeks. Numerous players are available to contenders: pitchers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, outfielder Alfonso Soriano, catcher Geovany Soto and closer Carlos Marmol, for starters. And there is still speculation the Cubs might be willing to deal Bryan LaHair, an All-Star at first base but pushed to right field by the emergence of Anthony Rizzo.