Pirates’ Correia Seeks Trade After Bullpen Demotion

Correia has asked for a trade (Keith Allison / flickr)

Pittsburgh has been one of the most active teams in the trade market, even if they’ve only completed one meaningful deal so far.

After acquiring LHP Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros last week, the Pirates moved incumbent starter Kevin Correia to the bullpen.

The move hasn’t pleased Correia, who has since publicly requested a trade to a team that will use him as a starter.

From Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

“I want to start,” Correia said. “For that to happen, I’ll have to go someplace else.”

With less than 24 hours to go until the July 31 non-waiver deadline trade (4 PM), the Pirates don’t have a great deal of time to decide what to do with the disgruntled Correia.

Whether they hang onto him or not, any decision regarding Correia will be informed by GM Neal Huntington’s telling quote from the Tribune-Review story,

“We’re open to a trade, but it’s got to be something that makes us better.”

If that’s the team’s sentiment, don’t count any kind of trade to be a slam dunk just because Correia made his wishes known publicly. The Pirates will only move Correia if the player(s) in return can make the team better.

The Pirates’ needs are known. The team still lacks a bat in corner outfield and Clint Barmes (.208/.233/.299, 27 RBI) could certainly be improved upon at shortstop.

Whether or not teams value Correia enough to send such an asset back to Pittsburgh isn’t quite clear. Correia entered the season as the rotation’s de facto whipping boy, going 1-5 in his first eight starts with a 4.50 ERA after falling apart in the second half of the 2011 season.

However, Correia has improved his draft stock considerably of late. Prior to his bullpen demotion, Correia had won six straight decisions and lowered his ERA to 4.24 for the season.

It’s unclear if the team wishes to move him, or if they would have to package the veteran starter with other assets to receive the kind of player they need. There’s also the possibility of a temporary six-man rotation in Pittsburgh, one that is becoming ever-more likely with James McDonald‘s struggles and the potential of late-season arm fatigue among the rotation.

Having an asset like Correia available to step into the rotation at any time is not something to be undervalued.

The Pirates have been very active members of the trade market this season. If nothing happens with Correia, though, the team won’t be worse for having a healthy, experienced arm available in the bullpen or perhaps back in the rotation.

 


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