Penn State

Why the Pirates won't land a big name

Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence or B.J. Upton to the Pirates?

Forget it. And this has nothing to do with money.

To rent-a-star for two months, a team needs big-time prospects. Judging by what has passed through State College and Altoona in recent years, the Pirates don’t have enough high ceiling talent besides untouchable right-hander Jameson Taillon to pull a major deal.

Part of the issue is that some of the Pirates’ best young players such as Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker play in Pittsburgh. But there’s another issue: many of the organization’s top prospects are either too far away from the majors or meddling.

Triple-A Indianapolis features players who can help the Pirates in a pinch. Prospects don’t mingle in Triple-A long, anyway.

Outfielder Starling Marte is the top prospect at Double-A Altoona. He’s a nice trade chip. Matt Curry and Brock Holt, who are having nice seasons, lack the physical tools most organizations covet. Some scouts claim pitcher Bryan Morris and catcher Tony Sanchez have regressed this season.

Infielder Jarek Cunningham has cooled after a fast start at High-A Bradenton. Outfielders Robbie Grossman and Evan Chambers lack serious power potential. None of the Marauders’ pitchers dazzle.

Taillon is the headliner at West Virginia, which features a slew of 20- and 21-year-old pitchers trying to separate themselves from each other. Colton Cain, a left-hander who pitched for the State College Spikes last year, is desirable trade piece.

Anybody below the full-season level is unlikely to be included in a trade.

Maybe a package including Marte and Cain could snag a big name.

The Pirates better hope Pedro Alvarez starts swinging at quality pitches soon.