Jul 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Mark Melancon (35) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates eyeing bullpen help

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Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen was among the best in the National League. Here’s a few numbers from 2013 as well their NL ranks.

ERA: 2.89 (2nd)
Saves: 55 (1st)
BAA: .229 (3rd)
OBP: .296 (2nd)
SLG: .325 (2nd)
WHIP: 1.17 (2nd)

Hasn’t been the same during this 2014 season…

ERA: 3.45 (6th)
Saves: 31 (6th)
BAA: .249 (12th)
OBP: .322 (12th)
SLG: .376 (10th)
WHIP: 1.29 (7th)

Yesterday, our own Aaron Somers brought to light that the Pirates were looking at Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller. Seems another Red Sox reliever could be in the eyes of the Pirates brass: Koji Uehara. That news comes from Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Sawchik sees a trend with how Pirates GM Neal Huntington has handled the trade deadline (July 31 and August 31) over the past three years…

In 2011, he picked up Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick before the deadline.
In 2012, he acquired Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez before the deadline.
Last season, he netted Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd before the Aug. 31 deadline.

OF those six players acquired, only two remain (Snider and Sanchez). Sure, not all deals work. but Huntington has at least shown he will attempt to improve his ballclub.

Sawchik also notes that the Buccos seemed steep in bullpen arms prior to the season’s onset. After trading Bryan Morris, Vic Black, and Jason Grilli, the Pirates no longer have that depth. Yes, they did get Ernesto Frieri in the Grilli deal, but that hasn’t panned out as hoped (1-1,11.25 ERA, 2.125 WHIP). Uehara would provide that hope.

Since inheriting the closer’s role on a full-time basis, Mark Melancon (pictured above) has performed well (9 SV, 0 BS, 2.92 ERA, 1.054 WHIP in 12.1 IP). Adding Uehara to the mix would re-strengthen the ‘pen.

Yes, the Pirates could look to add to their starting rotation, but that price may be too high. With the names of Jon Lester and David Price being front and center, if Pittsburgh looks at adding a starter, it certainly wouldn’t be those two.

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