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Pirates have 'looked into' trading for Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino

The Pirates could relieve the Red Sox of some veteran burdens. But it would likely not be their first, second, or third choice.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates might be interested in trading for Red Sox veterans Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune:

Neither player is really the model deadline trade target, obviously. Even though he's put together a rare strong week, Mike Napoli is still hitting .209/.306/.377 on the season while playing an unusually mediocre first base. Victorino is doing no better at the plate with a line of .245/.324/.298, but against all odds it seems the Pirates are interested.

It's easier to understand the interest in Victorino from any given team. He's still capable of playing all three outfield positions defensively, and has the sort of numbers against left-handed hitters that make him a legitimate platoon option. Napoli, too, has some decent splits to his name, but the combination of his defensive inflexibility and less impressive platoon numbers make him a much less obvious target.

For the Pirates, though, there's arguably need. Pedro Alvarez is a complete mess at first defensively, making even the mediocre Mike Napoli of 2015 look like the Mike Napoli of old, and he's completely incapable of hitting left-handed hitting. When is a player like Mike Napoli an improvement? When your baseline has a -0.3 fWAR.

Still, for a Pirates team that leads the National League Wild Card race by three games and is still somehow within striking distance of an unreasonably good St. Louis team, Napoli and Victorino seem like last-ditch options. The kind that will be there for them if all their other plans fall through. The Red Sox really aren't expecting to get real value out of any Napoli/Victorino trades other than perhaps unloading a small portion of their salaries. At this point, they're more looking to find a home for the two so they don't have to deal with the unpleasant situation of designating two veterans who helped them win the World Series for assignment.

If the Pirates with their reasonably stocked farm system really can't do better, then Napoli and Victorino at least fit as well as two struggling players such as themselves can on Pittsburgh's roster. But don't be surprised if they find a more impressive route to go down.