The trade of Nate McLouth could have a positive impact on what the Pirates do in the first round of the first-year player draft next Tuesday.
The Pirates saved approximately $1.3 million this season by dealing the All-Star center fielder to Atlanta on Wednesday.
The Pirates are considering using that money to select Aaron Crow, a right-handed pitcher who was Washington’s first-round draft pick from Missouri but opted not to sign with the Nationals.
Crow is now pitching for Fort Worth in the independent American Association and is said to be seeking a major-league contract somewhere north of $4 million.
Crow has a fastball that reaches 96 mph along with a hard slider and many scouts believe he could be in a major-league rotation by the start of next season if he signs quickly.
A source with knowledge of the Pirates’ thinking said they will only take Crow if they are sure they can sign him.
If not, they will go in another direction, though they seem to be backing off Missouri right-hander Kyle Gibson as he admitted to having forearm pain after beating Monmouth in the NCAA regionals in his final collegiate start last weekend.
The Pirates’ fallback plan in the event they can’t come to terms with Crow is to draft either a catcher or high school pitcher they can sign quickly after the draft for slot money.
In that case, they would use the money saved in the McLouth deal and any other trades they might make this month _ they are actively shopping first baseman Adam LaRoche among others _ and put it toward
trying to sign Dominican Republic shortstop Jose Miguel Sano when bidding on international free agents begins July 2.
The catchers the Pirates have their eye on are Boston College’s Tony Sanchez and Wil Myers, a high school senior from High Point, N.C. They also like high right-handers Shelby Miller of Brownwood, Texas and Zach Wheeler of Dallas, Ga.