And finally on Wednesday of Winter Meeting week, we have some news that’s at least Pirate-adjacent, if not directly Pirate-related (other than rumors, I mean). The Cubs won the Ben Zobrist sweepstakes last night, which both means that the Pirates have to deal with Ben Zobrist next year and that the teams that didn’t get Ben Zobrist are now interested in Neil Walker. The Nats and Mets both have interest in Walker today, joining the “very interested” Angels in the Neil Walker Sweepstakes. With Zobrist gone, I’d imagine there’s a good chance the Pirates go home without Walker on their roster.
The other bit of noteworth news today is that the Brewers just sent Adam Lind to the Mariners for three minor league pitchers. None of the pitchers seem to be of much consequence, so I’ll admit that I’m a little bit puzzled that the Pirates weren’t move involved with Lind here. They’ve been interested in him in the past, and while it’s impossible to know how individual trade negotiations go, it seems like this is a price they should/would/could’ve been willing to pay for Lind, especially given their need for a left-handed bat at first base.
My hunch (and this is pure, 100% speculation, but hey, if I can’t speculate now, then when can I?) is that maybe the Pirates have a deal in place for Mitch Moreland that involves Jeff Locke or Charlie Morton (the Rangers have been said to be looking for back-end pitching) and that that deal is contingent on the Pirates being able to find more pitching. I would certainly think that the Pirates would be willing to trade Locke or Morton for someone like Moreland, but as frustrating as those two guys are, it’d be really hard for the Pirates to make that deal with only four starters currently lined up 2016 as is. We could be looking at a situation where a Walker trade is a domino that has to fall before a Moreland trade can go through.
Or maybe we’re not, who knows? Neal Huntington has pulled off some surprises in the past. I have a feeling the Walker market will move quickly from here, so we’ll probably know soon.
Image: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images