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Pirates reportedly are burning up the MLB phone lines

I figured what you see was sort of what you get when it came to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After all, despite their remarkable season, the Pirates remain a small market club that seems ill able to afford giving away cost-controlled prospects in exchange for pricey veterans or short-term rentals.

It seemed as if the players that have led Pittsburgh to the second-best record in baseball after the All-Star Game were going to have to be the ones who would decide if the Pirates could make the playoffs for the first time since their roster included Barry Bonds.

But, if the rumors are to be believed, the Pirates are going all in for 2012 and have been fishing for some of the same additions the Cardinals might like to land.

Several rumors have indicated that the Pirates have been in contact with the Chicago White Sox about shortstop Alexei Ramirez and outfielder Alex Rios who makes $12.5 million this year and next with a $1 million buyout for 2015.

Ramirez might look pretty nice in Cardinals red. He's a more productive offensive player that Pete Kozma who has sagged with the bat after a hot start in his first full season in the big leagues. Rios, who was pulled from the field in the sixth inning of the White Sox game Friday night causing speculation that he had been dealt, is a guy who could provide a right handed bat and some speed at all three outfield positions.

But it turns out he wasn't traded Friday. He was pulled off the field by Pale Hose skipper Robin Ventura for failing to hustle on a double play ball. That can't be a good selling point.

CBS sports reports that the Pirates are also interested in San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, a frequent foe of the Cardinals during playoff battles with his former clubs the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies in addition to last season with the Giants.

Pence, who is a free agent at the end of this season, makes $13.8 million in 2013.

The Pirates could certainly use an infusion of offense. But they need to be careful about what they give up to try to get it. A team in the middle of a 20-year rebuilding program can't afford to put itself back in a talent hole by making short-sighted deals.