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Pirates Rumors: Lester, Greinke, Hamels, Dempster, Garza

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Apr 23, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 23, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been monitoring several starting pitchers this summer, including Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke, Chicago Cubs right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza and Boston Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

He has been on Pittsburgh’s radar along with Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. It doesn’t appear the Sox would deal unless they got exceptional value back, and it doesn’t appear the Pirates would part with pitching prospect Gerrit Cole, whom the Sox would want.

The Pirates, who entered the day one game back of the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds, have been tied to some of the highest-profile names expected to be available this summer. While Cafardo reports on possible pitching targets, the club’s offense could become more of a focus.

The Pirates starters are in the top half of the league in ERA (3.98) and WHIP (1.29), but their bats are in the bottom third of the league in most offensive categories. Pittsburgh is 20th in runs scored, 23rd in batting average (.245), and 29th in on base percentage (.300).

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Should the Pirates acquire a hitter or pitcher?

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