Next on the Pirates' wish list is adding a veteran starting pitcher who would join a rotation in which only right-hander A.J. Burnett, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and righty James McDonald are certainties. The Pirates have been linked to such lower-tier free agents as lefties Francisco Liriano and John Lannan and right-hander Mike Pelfrey.
Liriano, 29, is intriguing because he was once one of the brightest young pitchers in the game, and scouts are still intrigued by his stuff.
Liriano went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 2006 as a rookie for Minnesota, making 28 appearances, including 16 starts. However, he injured his elbow and required Tommy John reconstructive surgery.
Since having the operation, Liriano has gone 40-49 with a 4.75 ERA in five seasons. He was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games, including 28 starts, with the Twins and White Sox last season.
Lannan and Pelfrey are both 28, and both were non-tendered. Lannan spent the majority of last season with Washington's Class AAA Syracuse affiliate, and Pelfrey made just three starts with the Mets before undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Lannan was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts with the Nationals this year and 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA in 24 starts for Syracuse. He has a 42-52 career record in the majors.
Pelfrey had no decisions and a 2.29 ERA before succumbing to surgery. He is 50-54 lifetime in seven seasons with the Mets.
1B Garrett Jones is drawing trade interest after hitting a career-high 27 home runs last season. Baltimore and Seattle were two teams linked to him at the winter meetings. A Pirates source said the team would only part with Jones if it could receive a frontline starting pitcher in return.
2B Neil Walker is following his normal offseason workout schedule, according to GM Neal Huntington. Walker was limited to eight games in September because of a herniated disk in his back.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4.5 Innings that LHP Andrew Oliver has averaged in his seven major league starts.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's an interesting guy. You hate to give up a switch-hitting catching prospect like (Ramon) Cabrera, but it was a chance to add a special arm." GM Neal Huntington, on acquiring LHP Andrew Oliver from the Tigers.