By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) –The Pirates could use a hitter.

It has been the obvious need all season. Power would be great, but at this point anyone that can hit for an average above .250 will do.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like a quality bat is coming to Pittsburgh any time soon.

The reality of adding a wild card team to the playoffs in both leagues is rearing its ugly head right now. Yes, the additional team means the Pirates have a better shot of making the playoffs. But at the same time, it might make things more difficult, as more teams will remain in contention for a longer period of time.

With that, fewer teams are looking to unload quality players because they want to continue to fight for wins and remain in the conversation of the playoff race.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington explained the situation as such over the weekend in Cleveland.

“We’ve been told by some clubs that they’re going to hold on as long as they can to sell tickets and try to keep their fans engaged, so that may take an obvious seller off the market,” Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Luckily for the Pirates, some bats have been coming around. The obvious is Pedro Alvarez, who belted four homers in two games over the weekend against the Indians.

Casey McGehee is riding a hot streak and Alex Presley has been much improved since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Mix in the consistent and solid production of Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker and the offense has been better. Not great, but better.

Another bat would be welcome, but don’t expect one of any quality to come any time soon.

“It’s a pretty obvious trade market right now,” Huntington said. “It’s really nonexistent.

“The second wild card in each league has made that many more teams actually remain engaged, and then what St. Louis and Tampa did a year go has made that many more teams philosophically remain engaged.”

“There’s no traction anywhere,” Hurdle said. “That extra wild card spot actually has added time for everybody with each passing week.”

Chris Gates | Bucs Blog

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