The Pirates are scouting Hunter Pence

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The bizarro theme of “Pittsburgh Pirates: trade deadline buyers” continues.  Building on their alleged contacts with the Oakland A’s regarding Josh Willingham, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports today that they’re aiming higher than that:  they’re scouring the Astros’ Hunter Pence.

It strikes me as unlikely that anything could come of that.  Not too long ago Ken Rosenthal reported that the Astros were unlikely to trade Pence unless Jim Crane took over the team before the deadline — which is unlikely — and ordered such a deal.  Add onto that the rumors that Ed Wade seems to be asking for way too much for Wandy Rodriguez, and you have to figure that he’d probably be asking too much for Pence too.  Assuming that his current position — sort of a lame duck GM, waiting for a new boss — even inspires him to make a deal.

So this is fun from a “hmm, what could help Pittsburgh continue to contend” perspective, but I’d be rather shocked to see anything real come of this.

Report: Yankees close to signing Gio González to minor league deal

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Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are close to signing starter Gio González. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the deal is of the minor league variety that will pay González $3 million if he makes the major league roster.

González, 33, made 27 starts for the Nationals before being sent to the Brewers ahead of the now-defunct August 31 waiver trade deadline. In aggregate, González went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA and a 148/80 K/BB ratio in 171 innings. He was solid in his five starts with the Brewers, going 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA.

Neither Luis Severino nor CC Sabathia will be ready for the start of the season, so González will add some immediate depth at the back of the Yankees’ rotation. Sabathia will likely return before Severino. When that happens, González may be pushed out of the rotation.