CINCINNATI -- The 2013 Trade Deadline is a big one for the Pirates, as they try to acquire pieces that could help them to their first winning season in 20 years and their first playoff appearance since 1992.
Bur for any teams that think they can use the Pirates' lack of success in the last two decades against them, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington has a message: "Don't bother."
"We as a group posture with the best of them, and part of posturing is gamesmanship," Huntington said. "I would say maybe those that don't know me all that well might throw that out there with the hopes that maybe that does have an impact. But those that know I think pretty well know that it won't have an effect."
With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline closing in, the Pirates have not been playing their best baseball, dropping seven of their last 10 games entering Sunday. The offense, which has been middle of the pack much of the season, has had a particularly tough stretch, scoring three runs or fewer in six of those defeats.
But as Huntington and his staff look to fill their needs, he said it's important to look at the whole body of work -- both as a team and with individual players -- and not be swayed by the hot and cold streaks that are a part of the game.
Along the same lines, Huntington said the organization likes what it already has in place, and various players aren't performing to their career averages. That will hopefully change, he said, and that factors into how decisions are made.
"As we look at our offense, we don't really have a guy that's well above his career norms, [and] we have a few guys that are below," Huntington said. "Does it mean we don't look? No. But does it mean we have a sense of desperation? It absolutely does not mean we have a sense of desperation."
As trade talks increase and the Deadline nears, Huntington said he knows exactly what players he wants, and by most indications the club will pick up a bat if it makes a move. And if the Pirates have to surrender valuable pieces in order to compete for a division title, then so be it.
"We're willing to stretch where it's appropriate, and we recognize we're going to have to give up probably more than we want to," Huntington said. "But that's where we are at this point in time. We just can't be foolish about it."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.