Pirates eye trade deadline

Pirates GM Neal Huntington

Closing in on the July 31 trading deadline, the Pirates had yet to make a single significant move toward bolstering their playoff fortunes. And to hear GM Neal Huntington Sunday, it would be easy to think one will never come.

"It continues to be an interesting dynamic," Huntington said before the 3-0 shutout of the Marlins at PNC Park. "We continue to hit well, with the best offense in the majors the past couple months. We continue to pitch well. We don't need to go out and get a bat. We don't need to go out and get an arm. We're going to continue to look at what makes sense for us from a cost standpoint."

That might well be nothing more than GM-speak, a case of Huntington not wanting to look desperate to his peers. Or it might be that the team is seriously looking at not messing with a winning formula.

Bet on the former.

Huntington said teams are still attempting to add players, but some are starting to prepare to become sellers as the July 31 deadline approaches.

The Pirates remain a team in need of a corner outfielder, in particular, especially since they're stubbornly refusing to promote top prospect Starling Marte from Triple-A Indianapolis.

This was Huntington's explanation for why the team's top five-tool talent still wasn't in Pittsburgh: "Well, Starling's hit a bit of a rough patch, and that could be great for him, actually. We've talked a lot about dealing with adversity. He was on a great roll before, and he's continuing to hit the ball hard. He hasn't gotten the results. He's chasing a little bit. It'll be interesting to see how he responds to it."

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