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Pirates eyeing Rick Ankiel?

According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,the Pirates expect to be active in the free agent market, with potential targets including John Grabow, who they traded to the Cubs in July, and Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel.

This is a clear indicator that the Pirates are beginning to shuffle their cards. Garrett Jones has surprised with 19 home runs in 265 at-bats, however, he is 28 years old, so there is little hope for further progression. Jones has played 69 games this season, but 20 of them have come at first base, so there is a chance he could be used in more of a utility role in 2010, with Jeff Clement getting his feet wet at first base and 20-year-old top-prospect Jose Tabata potentially finding his way to the majors by early June.

Ankiel is an interesting target who may come on the cheap. Reason being, he is batting just .234/.286/.390 with 11 home runs and 37 RBI in 351 at-bats this season. With young Colby Rasmus carving out an everyday role, the Cardinals have little reason to bring him back. If Tabata proves himself to be a competent corner outfielder -- something that is still open to debate -- the Pirates could always trade Ankiel to a contender if he has a bounceback season.