Pirates hold on to starters through Deadline

Pirates hold on to starters through Deadline

ST. LOUIS -- Just over 24 hours before Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the rumor mill would have led you to believe that a Pirates starting pitcher was on the go. By the time 4 p.m. ET on Saturday rolled around, the Pirates had subtracted five players from their Major League roster. None, however, was a starter.

Though the Pirates were engaged in discussion about Paul Maholm and fielded inquiries about Zach Duke's availability, in the end, the Pirates weren't going to be compelled to move either unless someone met their high asking price. No one did.

"Holding our starting pitchers is something we feel good about," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Obviously, our rotation hasn't pitched up to expectations this year. We're expecting these guys to bounce back, but at the same time, we wanted to add some depth options to that.

"We were perfectly content to move forward with each of them. If we had gotten the right return, and we felt good about that return, and it compelled us to move, we would have moved one of them. Obviously, we didn't get it."

Teams are not barred from making trades after Saturday's Deadline, though doing so becomes more challenging. Through August, deals involving 40-man roster players cannot be made unless the player clears waivers. A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team and -- if there are multiple claims -- the player would be offered to the team with the worse record.

At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or a second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.

Players with big contracts are the likeliest to be dealt during this period. The Pirates don't have any players that especially fit into that category.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.