Bucs to weigh trade offers involving bullpen

Bucs to weigh trade offers involving bullpen

ST. LOUIS -- Though it was Paul Maholm who was at the center of the Pirates-related trade rumors on Friday, he is still not the only candidate to be dealt before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

There has been varying degrees of interest in the club's relievers, and Pittsburgh will continue to weigh trade offers involving members of their bullpen up to the Deadline.

While Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are the most coveted two arms, the Pirates would have to be blown away by an offer to part with either. Pittsburgh can retain Hanrahan's rights through 2013, and Meek can't become a free agent until after the '14 season.

Octavio Dotel, D.J. Carrasco and Javier Lopez would seem the most likely to go if the bullpen is broken up. The Pirates can exercise a $4.5 million club option to keep Dotel next season if they want, but if the team feels ready to hand the closing duties to Meek or Hanrahan, now would be the time to get something in return for the 36-year-old right-hander. Other clubs have eyed him not for a closer's job, but as a setup man.

Both Carrasco and Lopez will be arbitration eligible this winter, meaning that the Pirates have the option of holding on to both beyond this season if there is no suitable trade offer. Carrasco has informed the Pirates that he would welcome the chance to play for a contending team the rest of the year.

The market for relievers isn't particularly strong this Deadline season, which works in the Pirates' favor. There hasn't been much activity to this point either, with the Twins' deal for former Pirates closer Matt Capps on Thursday representing the most notable trade involving a prominent reliever.