Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors  |  Last updated 12/27/11
The latest on the Pirates... The Pirates still have money to spend and their top priority is a starting pitcher, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  About three weeks ago, the Pirates signed Erik Bedard and released Ross Ohlendorf.  Paul Maholm, who made 26 starts for the Bucs this year, is expected to sign elsewhere.  The list of unsigned free agent starters remains robust as December draws to a close. The Pirates are looking to compete in 2012, president Frank Coonelly told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Coonelly says the team's focus has shifted to improving the Major League club.  Payroll is expected to be up from last year's $42MM mark; I have them pegged for about that amount already before accounting for minimum salary players or future additions.  Coonelly indicated that once the Pirates reach the point of having one glaring need, they're more likely to pursue an expensive impact free agent. The Pirates' portfolio approach has resulted
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