The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is one week away. Here’s what I expect the Pirates to do:

*What they did last year. Make waiver deals in August. SAVE MONEY. To owner Bob Nutting and GM Neal Huntington, the trade deadline is just a technicality.

*Lots of near-misses. Fuel the gossip. “The Pirates are looking at Boston ace Jon Lester.” We already heard that one. Being “in the hunt” reaps good PR. Not getting anyone significant SAVES MONEY.

*Make minor moves, and make them as late as possible. SAVE MONEY. I don’t envision any trades at the Marlon Byrd or Justin Morneau level.

I don’t see OF Starling Marte leaving, either. Seattle is reportedly in pursuit, and dangling a package of prospects in return. Marte has disappointed so far this season. The Pirates might think Marte stinks, and they might be right.

But the Pirates are very PR-savvy. Making a deal for the future at perceived expense of the current season would look horrible.

It would, however, SAVE MONEY. Marte contract = BUYER'S REMORSE.

The Pirates play 20 straight games in August against teams with winning records. They need to get better at the trade deadline. Not at the playoff roster deadline a month later. That worked last year. It might not work this year.

The primary goal, however, is to SAVE MONEY. You know the drill.

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