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Pirates Buzz: Reds expressing interest in Neil Walker

Pirates news and notes
With the Octavio Dotel signing looming, Pittsburgh is believed to be exploring at least three trade scenarios.
One avenue the Pirates are exploring is dealing former first round pick Neil Walker to the Cincinnati Reds.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty showed significant interest in Walker during the 2004 draft and many believed if Pittsburgh passed on Walker he wouldn’t get past St. Louis, where Jocketty was the Cards GM from 1994-2007.
The two sides have exchanged names but Pittsburgh is looking for a 3-for-1 swap and a high return to move Walker in the division.
Walker, 24, hit .264 with 14 home runs and 69 RBI’s for AAA Indianapolis last season. In 8 games with the Pirates in 2009, Walker hit .167 with 1 home run and 1 RBI in 32 plate appearances.
The Pirates 40 man roster is now at 40. Delwyn Young is being discussed in trades but the growing consensus is that management wants to hold onto him.
Reportedly, the Pirates may look to move newly acquired outfielder Brandon Jones.
Jones has shown some upside and should be kept instead of Brandon Moss who does not have a place in the organization.
What may keep Moss with the Pirates through another spring training is that he was believed to be a key piece of the Jason Bay trade. For PR reasons he may stay.
Duke doesn’t come down from asking price
Zach Duke’s asking price to avoid arbitration was $4.5 million and he did not come down much from that asking price as Duke signed a 1 year – $4.3 million deal. The Pirates offer as of late last week was believed to be in the $3.75 million range.
Duke made $2.2 million last season. Pittsburgh had no interest in signing Duke long-term and he will be a candidate to be moved this summer.
Pirates scouting Ben Sheets
The Pittsburgh Pirates were among 20+ teams to watch Ben Sheets throwing session on Tuesday. Sheets who started the 2008 All-Star Game, missed most of the 2009 season after elbow surgery.
Although the Pirates were in attendance, they will not be a serious player for Sheets.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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