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12/10/08 6:03 PM EST

For Pirates, rumors not always realistic

Clubs buzz around Capps, Maholm and McLouth, but price high

LAS VEGAS -- With rumors swirling around Vegas about other clubs asking the Pirates about Matt Capps, Paul Maholm and Nate McLouth, keep one thing in mind: Clubs asking does not equate to the Pirates looking to sell.

On Wednesday, reports linked the Mets and Cardinals to Capps. While it's likely that both clubs have inquired about the possibility of working a trade for the Pirates closer, there are certainly no indications that the Pirates' asking price for Capps is reasonable enough to allow those conversations to develop further.

In fact, general manager Neal Huntington made it quite clear on Tuesday that while none of the club's players are deemed untouchable, he will be asking for a hefty -- possibly unreasonably hefty -- return for any of the team's young core players. That group includes Capps.

"There are certain guys that certainly we would need to get what we, in our minds, believed was an overpay," Huntington said. "Those are deals that you struggle to ask for. You don't want to get a reputation of always asking for too much, but there are certain players that are tougher to move. There are certain players that we are trying to build around."

Both the Mets and Cardinals are seeking bullpen help, but neither appears willing to seriously entertain the price to land the 25-year-old closer. The Pirates have been asking for two to three prospects in their talks to trade shortstop Jack Wilson, and it's safe to assume that the asking price for Capps is higher than that, at least in terms of the ceiling of the prospects for whom they would be asking.

Maholm and McLouth's names came up in rumors on Tuesday, though there has not been serious continuation of those conversations on Wednesday.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.