By John Perrotto
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla._ The Pirates have checked two items off their wish list at baseball’s Winter Meetings, agreeing to terms with a pair of starting pitchers in left-hander Scott Olsen and right-hander Kevin Correia, and a right-handed hitting outfielder in Matt Diaz as free agents.
Now the Pirates want to upgrade on Ronny Cedeno at shortstop and they were in heavy conversations with Tampa Bay about Jason Bartlett on Wednesday at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort.
The only thing believed to be holding up a potential trade was Bartlett’s desire to work out a contract extension with the Pirates as he is eligible for free agency at the end of next season. Bartlett is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter and made $4 million last season.
Bartlett, 31, hit .254 with four home runs and 47 RBIs in 135 games last season after a career in 2009 when he batted .320-14-66 in 137 games.
The Rays had been asking for reliever Joel Hanrahan in an effort to fill their depleted bullpen. However, indications are that if a deal is made that it will be without Hanrahan as the Rays would be happy to have payroll relief in order to pursue bullpen help through free agency.
The Pirates also have some interest in St. Louis’ Brandon Ryan. The Pirates consider Ryan a defensive upgrade but are concerned that they might not be able to carry his weak bat in their lineup.
John Perrotto is editor-in-chief of BaseballPropsectus.com