PITTSBURGH -- With a little more than a week remaining before next Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington confirmed an obvious perception: The 2012 Bucs' split personality has made it extremely challenging to identify the contending team's needs. "At the end of two months, we would have absolutely felt we needed a bat after two months of historically bad offense," Huntington said while taking a brief break from "working the phones and staying in contact with our scouts." "At the end of four months, after leading baseball in offense for the last two ... it's been an interesting dynamic to work through." Remove "bat" from the must-get list ... and there is no list.
"Our starting pitchers continue to do well," Huntington said. "Our bullpen continues to do very well. You can never have enough arms -- but we also have a lot of guys in Triple-A we feel good about. So it's nice that we don't have to go get someone specific; we can pick what we want to get, and if the acquisition cost is exorbitantly high, we can stay with what we have and continue to play winning baseball." The Pirates are would-be buyers. So are 21 other teams within a hot week of a playoff spot, although some of those appear to be straddling the fence. "More teams are starting to reach out with two-way logic," said Huntington, canvassing the market. "They're still looking to add, but the reality is setting in that they may need to sell." The Pirates approach this year's Deadline with a mind-set eerily similar to a year ago, when they did acquire veteran hitters Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick but passed on some "bigger" names available (i.e. Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, whom Houston dealt). "We still feel good about the passes based on the asking price and on what they've turned into," Huntington said, candidly.