By John Perrotto
The Pirates' chances of pulling off another major deal before the 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline for making trades without securing on waivers is "less than 50-50," according to a club source, who added "the asking prices are still high, even this close to the deadline."
The Pirates made a move to bolster their starting rotation when they acquired left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from Houston in a trade for three minor-league pitchers Colton Cain and Rudy Owens and outfielder Robbie Grossman.
The Pirates continue to target Cleveland right fielder Shin Soo Choo and Philadelphia right fielder Hunter Pence in potential trades. However, both the Indians and Phillies are insisting on the Pirates including rookie outfielder Starling Marte in any trade. The Pirates, though, would prefer not to part with Marte.
Choo, 29, is hitting .291 with 12 home runs, 39 RBIs and11 stolen bases in 96 games this season. Pence, 29, has a .271 batting average with 17 homers and 59 RBIs in 101 games.
While the Pirates would prefer to trade for players who are signed beyond this season, they are amenable to adding a hitter with an expiring contract if the acquisition cost is low. They have inquired about Miami first baseman Carlos Lee.
Carlos Lee, 36, is hitting .277 with six home runs and 41 RBIs in 86 games. The Marlins traded with Houston for Lee on July 4 but are now willing to part with him as they have fallen out of contention.
The Pirates have also talked to San Diego again about third baseman Chase Headley but the Padres continue to insist on getting one of the Bucs' top two prospects, right-handers Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon, as part of any deal. The Pirates would like to use Headley in right field and move Garrett Jones back to his natural position of first base but will not part with Cole or Taillon in a trade for him.
Headley, 28, is hitting .267 with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs in 102 games. He cannot become a free agent until after the 2014 season.
Though it is not as high of a priority as adding a hitter, the Pirates also are looking for a second left-handed reliever to join Tony Watson in the bullpen.
The Pirates' primary target is Kansas City's Jose Mijares. The 27-year-old is having an excellent season as he is 2-2 with 2.15 ERA in an American League-leading 49 games.