Pirates Trade Rumors: Bucs Need Shane Victorino to Overcome Rival Reds

Steven GerwelFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 23: Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after he was hit by a pitch on the forearm on a swinging third strike as called by home plate umpire Tom Hallion #20 in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers  during a MLB baseball game on July 23, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

At this time last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates were in second place in the NL Central with a 54-49 record. 

They were well within the wild-card hunt and were trailing the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers by less than two games. 

But on July 29, 2011, the Pirates began a 10-game losing streak that eventually resulted in 16 losses out of 20 games, and the team won only eight total games in the month of August. 

Such a promising start to the season was spoiled by a sharp and sudden decline that could have possibly been prevented had the front office done a better job acquiring talent near the trade deadline. 

This year, the Pirates are once again sitting in second place in their division and are not only in the hunt for the wild-card spot, but they are leading the way. 

But will the Pirates make an effort to acquire extra talent? Or, will they stand idle and perhaps ruin yet another chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 1992? 

If the rumors on their pursuit of Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino are accurate, then the Pirates are serious about making a playoff run.

Jayson Stark of ESPN announced via Twitter that the Pirates are among several teams interested in Victorino's services.

Victorino is a Gold Glove outfielder who would team up with Andrew McCutchen and provide Pittsburgh with an unbelievably good defensive outfield. 

But while defense is likely the best aspect of Victorino's game, his hitting will also give the Pirates a batting order that's capable of occasionally outproducing the top teams in baseball. 

He has hit double-digit home runs and over 60 RBIs in each of his last three seasons while maintaining a respectable on-base percentage. 

He's not an elite hitter by any definition, but he would greatly improve the back end of the order. 

Also, his experience as a World Series champion will only help a young Pirates team that has only sniffed the playoffs in recent history. 


The Competition

It's being reported by Cincinnati.com that the Reds apparently turned down a trade for Victorino. 

The trade would have moved right-handed pitcher Logan Ondrusek to Philadelphia in exchange for Victorino, but the Reds decided to back out of that deal and retain the righty. 

Regardless of the move supposedly being spoiled, there's a chance that the two sides will continue to talk and come up with a new proposal if the interest is mutual. 

For Pittsburgh, it cannot stand by and let its division rivals and potential playoff competition acquire the outfielder that was supposed to put the club over the edge. 

If the Pirates want to avoid the same collapse that they experienced in 2011, then they must be aggressive for a change. 

For the past two decades, the Pirates have been the ones in "sell mode" during the trade deadline, so perhaps they forgot how to be aggressive. But the fans deserve nothing less.