Pittsburgh fans haven't read these words in a while:
The Pirates might have caught a break.
The Pirates would like to upgrade at shortstop, where career .245 hitter Ronny Cedeño is the incumbent. And, for once, the market seems to be unfolding favorably for them.
Although the Pirates weren't close to dealing for a shortstop early Wednesday afternoon, they have a chance to do so before Thursday's deadline to tender contracts.
Sources say the Pirates have interest in Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett and Minnesota’s J.J. Hardy. Both are available via trade, because the San Francisco Giants (Miguel Tejada) and St. Louis Cardinals (Ryan Theriot) shopped elsewhere for their infield upgrades.
With the addition of a good shortstop, Pittsburgh fans could look at a credible everyday lineup in 2011.
The rest of the group will include catcher Chris Snyder, first baseman Garrett Jones, second baseman Neil Walker, third baseman Pedro Alvarez, left fielder Jose Tabata, center fielder Andrew McCutchen and right fielder Ryan Doumit.
Now, if only they had some pitching …
The Pirates have three starting pitchers who can be considered strong candidates to begin the season in their rotation: Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf and James McDonald. Beyond that, there are questions.
But at least the Pirates are trying. They made a strong offer to free-agent starter Jorge De La Rosa before he re-signed with the Rockies, one major league source said.
— Jon Paul Morosi