By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Multiple areas of the Pittsburgh Pirates could be strengthened with the acquisition of a quality player at the trade deadline.

The Buccos have struggled at the bottom of the starting rotation with Erik Bedard and Kevin Correia. They also have middle infield needs and lack power in the corner outfield spots.

With the right addition, Pittsburgh could become even more dangerous in the National League. In turn, they’d become a more serious contender for a playoff spot come October.

According to a report on the Pirates official website, it appears an outfield bat, preferably left-handed, is the top priority for general manager Neil Huntington and company.

“We’re in a buying mode,” Huntington said, according to the team’s official website. “We need to be optimistic, but also realistic about who we are and what we need to do to take another step. That doesn’t take away from what’s been done. We’re not saying, ‘You aren’t good enough.’ You look to get better, so where can you improve? How can you improve? Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”

Foremost, Pittsburgh hunts for an outfield bat, ideally a left-handed hitter who can be a threat off the bench when not in the lineup (yes, getting a productive Jose Tabata back from the Minors would help, but the Bucs would still want to add lefty punch). That’s why early rumors linking the Bucs to the Phillies’ Shane Victorino were credible.

There’s quite a bit of unreliability in the outfield. Alex Presley had to be sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis to sort out problems earlier in the season. Jose Tabata is currently mired in his own struggles.

One of the top reserves in the outfield is Gorkys Hernandez, who is a defensive specialist but provides little at the plate.

Searching for an outfield bat makes sense, but that’s not to say it’s the only place that needs to be improved.

Clint Barmes is batting .204 and has been a season-long liability at the plate at the shortstop position. No playoff team can afford that at such a crucial position.

It’s unrealistic to expect Pittsburgh to continue to lead the league in scoring, as they’ve done since May. With that, they’ll need a productive bat.

As stated above, Bedard and Correia have not been reliable in recent starts. This is aided by the Pirates ability to shorten their rotation in the post-season, but they’ve got to get there first. Continual failures at the bottom of the rotation could prevent Pittsburgh from seeing October.

It will be interesting to see how Huntington plays the trade market. A consistent left-handed bat would be nice. It might not be the only need, though, if the Buccos want to reach the post-season.

Chris Gates | Bucs Blog

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