Team has inquired on Blake, Stewart among others
GM Neal Huntington’s focus at the GM Meetings this week in Dallas is on upgrading the offense via first base, possibly in the outfield and bolstering the team’s starting pitching rotation. However, an under the radar area the Pirates have been actively minoriting is the infield market, most notably infeilders with the ability to play third base.
The Pirates are hopeful that Pedro Alvarez can rebound and perform like a major league player in 2011 but the team doesn’t want to be handcuffed like they were last season.
In the past couple weeks, the Pirates have looked into veterans Casey Blake, Mark Derosa, and Kevin Kouzmanoff via free agency, among others, industry sources confirm.
The player the Pirates are said to be most interested in is Blake who has drawn interest from multiple clubs.
Agent Jim McDowell confirmed the Pirates have made an inquiry and that he expects to talk with GM Neal Huntington but it remains to be seen how much interest Blake would really have in playing for the Pirates at this stage in his career.
Blake, 38, is a player GM Neal Huntington has had interest in previous years. Blake was also a member of the Cleveland Indians for five seasons when Huntington worked for the organization.
Blake hit just .252 with 4 home runs and 26 RBI’s in 63 games played in 2011 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the first season Blake had under 17 home runs since the 2002 season when he appeared in only 9 games for the Minnesota Twins.
Blake has the ability to play left field, third base and first base. He appeared in 45 games at third base in 2011 and 8 at first base.
Blake made $5.5 million in 2011.
The team has also been guaging the trade market. Fox Sports mentions the Pirates among the teams who have looked into Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart.
Stewart, 26, had a 2011 season he’d like to forget where he appeared in only 48 games, batting .156 with 0 home runs and 6 RBI’s, the worst season of his career.
The Rockies though have a high price tag for Stewart and for good reason.
He is just 26 and had seasons of 25 home runs – 70 RBI’s and 18 home runs – 61 RBI’s in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Indications are if the Rockies move Stewart, the Pirates are an unlikely trade partner due to the asking price.