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Tuesday September 22 2020
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Deadline Dealing with ESPN's Buster Olney

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Buster Olney, senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, spoke with PSR's Joe Giardina about how the suddenly-in contention Pirates and general manager Neal Huntington will approach Major League Baseball's looming trade deadline.

Olney, who began covering baseball in 1989 as the Nashville Banner's beat reporter assigned to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, also contributes to ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS, "SportsCenter" and "Baseball Tonight."

Joe Giardina: How important will the players returning from injury be for the Pirates down the stretch?
Buster Olney:
I think their best help is going to be what they get from the trade market.  It will be interesting.  I think they have a chance to be the most productive in the trade market among those teams [in the division].  But the question is how far will the front office go to augment what they have?  And will they step out and say ‘hey, we have a situation where we are making more money than we expected...are we going to be willing to invest some of that into 2011, and at a time when we are still trying to work within the parameters of the big picture plan?’
 
Joe: Will they be aggressive, in your opinion?
Buster:
I think they like the idea of being aggressive, but liking the idea and doing it are actually two different things, because it’s going to hurt.  When you are a team that’s building a long-term plan, and all of a sudden in 2011 you are going to be asked to trade assets before you thought you were going to... I'm curious to see if they are going to pull the trigger, and how far they go.  So I’m not sure.  I know that right now a lot of teams are asking some high prices, and if the Pirates want to augment their team they are going to have to pay somebody.  If they want Carlos Beltran, he can be had… but they’re going to have to pay.
 
Joe: What's your best-case, most realistic scenario involving the Pirates?
Buster:
My guess is they are going to wind up with one of the second-line of relievers that are in the market.  Not Heath Bell or Mike Adams, but the Mike Wuertz’ of the world.  Maybe they jump in on a Kyle Farnsworth… I think those types of guys for their bullpen.  And I think they’ll wind up with a David Dejesus, a Josh Willingham, guys like that.
 
I don’t think they’ll get Beltran.  I have my doubts as to whether or not Beltran would accept a trade there.  My guess is he probably would prefer to go to Boston or Philadelphia.

Joe: What are your thoughts on the Hunter Pence trade rumors?
Buster:
It’s definitely real, they are willing to trade him.  Some GMs are convinced that he IS going to be traded.  But given what it’s going to take for the Pirates to get somebody like that, I’d be shocked if they would be the team to land him.
 
Joe: This is uncharted territory for Huntington, because he’s never really been a buyer before. How will that impact what he does?
Buster:
It's one of the big X factors, how he goes about the business of adding players.  I know you hear it all the time from other GMs as they get older - they begin to understand that when you have an opportunity to win, unless you are the Yankees or Red Sox who presume every year that they have an opportunity to win, you better take it.  And they certainly have an opportunity to win, at least in my view they do.

Follow Buster on Twitter: @Buster_ESPN

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