Bucs to weigh trade offers involving bullpen
Hanrahan, Meek coveted arms as Saturday's Deadline nears
ST. LOUIS -- Though it was Paul Maholm who was at the center of the Pirates-related trade rumors on Friday, he is still not the only candidate to be dealt before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.
There has been varying degrees of interest in the club's relievers, and Pittsburgh will continue to weigh trade offers involving members of their bullpen up to the Deadline.
While Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are the most coveted two arms, the Pirates would have to be blown away by an offer to part with either. Pittsburgh can retain Hanrahan's rights through 2013, and Meek can't become a free agent until after the '14 season.
Octavio Dotel, D.J. Carrasco and Javier Lopez would seem the most likely to go if the bullpen is broken up. The Pirates can exercise a $4.5 million club option to keep Dotel next season if they want, but if the team feels ready to hand the closing duties to Meek or Hanrahan, now would be the time to get something in return for the 36-year-old right-hander. Other clubs have eyed him not for a closer's job, but as a setup man.
Both Carrasco and Lopez will be arbitration eligible this winter, meaning that the Pirates have the option of holding on to both beyond this season if there is no suitable trade offer. Carrasco has informed the Pirates that he would welcome the chance to play for a contending team the rest of the year.
The market for relievers isn't particularly strong this Deadline season, which works in the Pirates' favor. There hasn't been much activity to this point either, with the Twins' deal for former Pirates closer Matt Capps on Thursday representing the most notable trade involving a prominent reliever.
McCutchen expected to start on Saturday
ST. LOUIS -- Right-hander Daniel McCutchen left his Triple-A Indianapolis teammates on Friday to travel to St. Louis, where he is expected to pitch on Saturday.
The Pirates won't make the announcement official with a roster move until Saturday, but the club has known all week that it would need to fill the rotation spot vacated by Brad Lincoln. Reliever Steven Jackson is expected to be sent down to make space for McCutchen, though that roster move could change if the Pirates were to make a deal before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.
This will be McCutchen's third stint with the Pirates this season, the most recent of which ended just before the All-Star break. The right-hander has allowed a combined 27 earned runs on 36 hits in 28 1/3 innings.
In his three starts with Indianapolis since his most recent demotion, McCutchen allowed nine earned runs on 14 hits in 18 1/3 innings.
The Pirates acquired outfielder Mitch Jones from the Braves on Friday for cash considerations. Jones, who appeared in eight big league games for the Dodgers in 2009, had spent the season with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. He was hitting .250 with 23 doubles, 18 homers and 45 RBIs in 89 games. Jones joined the Pirates' Triple-A Indianapolis club. ... Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf remains on schedule to start on Monday after feeling no side effects of being struck in the head by a line drive when he threw his side session on Friday. Ohlendorf also spent some time running at Busch Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen returned to the lineup on Friday after missing Thursday's game with stiffness in his right shoulder. McCutchen's shoulder is not at 100 percent, but he is not at risk of doing any additional damage by playing while it continues to heal. ... Ryan Doumit, who is on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a concussion, resumed some light baseball activities by playing catch on Friday. ... Right-hander Anthony Claggett came off the DL and rejoined Double-A Altoona.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.