According to a major-league source, the Pirates are trying to trade Craig Wilson, their 29-year-old outfielder/first baseman, for a veteran pitcher that would shore up their rotation. One target could be Boston Red Sox right-hander Matt Clement, a Butler High School graduate.
At least four clubs are believed to be interested in acquiring Wilson before the start of the regular season.
In return for Wilson, a bench player they profess to deeply covet, the Pirates are hoping to snag an experienced pitcher who would replace Kip Wells in the starting rotation.
Wilson is due to make $3.3 million this season, after which he, like Wells, will be eligible for free agency.
Since they will most likely lose him at season’s end, the Pirates could gain value by trading Wilson for a veteran pitcher. The addition of Burnitz and Casey has relegated Wilson, who hit 29 home runs in 2004, to the bench.
The Pirates’ dilemma is the amount of salary they would be willing to absorb in a trade. An All-Star in 2005, Clement is set to earn $9.5 million in each of the 2006 and 2007 campaigns.
A more affordable option on the Red Sox roster would be 29-year-old Bronson Arroyo, a former Pirates right-hander. In January, Arroyo signed a three-year contract worth nearly $12 million.
For Boston, placing Wilson at first would allow the club to shift Kevin Youkilis to 3rd, when and if a decision is reached that Mike Lowell is completely washed up.
Pittsburgh RHP Ian Snell shut out the Indians over four innings yesterday in the Pirates’ 3-2 victory, lowering his spring ERA to 1.38