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MLB Trade Rumors: Athletics, Pirates Talking Josh Willingham, Craig Breslow?

Pittsburgh Pirates beat writer Rob Biertempfel tweeted that the Pirates are considering a deal to acquire Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham and middle reliever Craig Breslow. The deal would apparently involve OF Garrett Jones. Beyond that I'd imagine the A's would acquire a low level prospect or two and of course salary relief.

The Pirates maintain a 1/2 game lead in the NL Central and find themselves in the thick of a playoff race for the first time in nearly two decades. Team president Frank Coonelly has said the team will be moderate buyers at the deadline and are able to take on some salary in part due to the improved attendance during their recent run. Willingham would provide the team with some pop in the outfield while Breslow is a solid left handed arm for the sixth and seventh innings.

The A's are sitting deep in the AL West cellar and likely are going to go into a bit of a firesale mode in the coming days. They've go a variety of modestly salaried veterans that have not done much and will be hitting free agency in the offseason. It will be interesting to see how much of anything the A's are able to bring back in trades over the next week and a half.

A guy like Garrett Jones has some modest upside but has been struggling in 2011, hitting .237 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. He peaked in 2009 when he hit .291 with 21 home runs and 44 RBIs in 82 games and boosted his RBI total to 86 in 2010 when he was given a full time role. However, he has struggled in his second season as a more or less full time outfielder.