Pittsburgh needs a rightfielder to remain atop the NL Central

The Pittsburgh Pirates have roared back into the hunt for the National League Central. The Pirates have won six straight games and 8 of their past 11 overall. Pittsburgh is now tied for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals, and has a record of 48-30.

The Pirates know they have a good opportunity to win the division or qualify for the postseason in one of the two wildcard spots, as long as they continue playing ball the way they know they can.

Pittsburgh is currently looking for another outfielder preferably a right fielder.

Rumors started flying that the Bucs should trade for Giancarlo Stanton to fill their needs in the outfield, since he could help at that position and provide lineup protection for All Star Andrew McCutchen. However, if the Bucs do not go for Stanton, why not trade for Alex Rios?

For each of the last three seasons, Rios has played 145 or more games. His numbers are not grandiose compared to Stanton’s power, but Rios has a triple slash of .304/.334/.516 in 2012. This year Rios triple slash is .284/.344/.472.

Rios’ health is not a concern like Stanton’s might be. Stanton has had troubles throughout his career with staying healthy.

Pittsburgh knows all about bringing in a power hitter near the trade deadline who ended up missing several games. It happened in 2011 when they brought Derek Lee to town. He knocked the cover off the ball at a .337 clip when he played, but he only played 28 games for Pittsburgh following the trade deadline and then ended up retiring.

A drawback to penning a contract for Rios instead of Stanton is Rios has contract through only 2014, while Stanton would not be eligible for free agency until 2017.

Of course over the long run, Rios most likely would not be needed beyond 2014, if prospect Gregory Polanco comes along as it looks like he will.

If Rios can be had, without losing Polanco in the process, the short-term success would far outweigh any possible loss of Rios in the future, since Polanco looks ready to step in next season.

The biggest question in this equation is whom would Pittsburgh have to sacrifice to get Rios on the team.

Would a group of top rated prospects sent to Chicago be worth getting Rios?

Other teams have shown interest in Rios, but the trade deadline is still a ways away. However, if the Pirates do decide to take Rios it is likely it will cost them at least two prospects.

Giving up a few players, not including Polanco would be worth it to Pittsburgh, as Rios would provide the Pirates with a full time starter in right field with a solid bat at the plate.

Off course, this is all conjecture at the moment, but the way the Bucs are playing now, an addition to their outfield might be the thing they need to push them to the top of the division and into the postseason.

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