PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)-MLB Network Analyst and former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Hart joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on Thursday to talk about what the Pirates may be looking for with just one week left before the non-waiver trade deadline.
“I think they will do something. It’s just whether they jump big or not, ” Hart said. “I know Neal and he is probably working the phones right now, but the bid and ask right now is too high. But. in a week or 10 days it might not be and that big deal may come.”
Hart said Huntington has done a nice job with deadline deals over the past couple of years, including picking up Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd last year.
He says his philosophy on not wanting to give up top prospects in any deal may be because of economics and wanting these young players to be part of a long term plan to keep them in contention. However, he says because of the great job Huntington has done, they have enough good young players in the system that if they wanted to make a splash deal they could.
“You can never go wrong in any organization with adding a starting pitcher or a possible bullpen piece,” Hart said.
One possible target that has been reported is former Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, who is now in Philadelphia. Would he be a viable option to return to the Pirates?
“Not for me,” Hart said. “I would not cross that bridge. There are other starters out there that would be better than A.J. This is a guy with a lot of money attached to him and not the guy you would look at to pitch Game 1 or 2 in a playoff. He is probably a three or four at best. I don’t think he is a good option for Pittsburgh.”
Hart said Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy could be an option for the Pirates. He looks at him as a guy that could help, but not someone who he would unload the farm to get.
Hart thinks the Pirates could use help at first base as well as starting pitching help and an upgrade to the bullpen. Even if they make no moves, they have enough to stay in the race for the division title.
“I think this is the most fascinating division in baseball because you have four teams in the race,” Hart said. “I certainly think they (Pirates) have a real chance to stay in there and win this. I think none of the four teams are perfect, but they could all win this.”
John Hart will be part of MLB Network’s 29 hours of LIVE trade deadline coverage next week, including a trade deadline special starting at 11 a.m. next Thursday, July 31.