ST. LOUIS -- Freddy Sanchez's inclusion onto the National League All-Star team Sunday inches him a little closer toward guaranteeing his 2010 contract.
Which could make Pittsburgh's ongoing efforts to trade him a little more difficult.
There is no question that the Pirates, one of the most active teams in the trade market this summer, are looking to capitalize on their second baseman's hot start by dealing him.
But one mitigating factor that unquestionably will make general manager Neal Huntington's job more difficult as he works to re-shape the Pirates is that, with Sanchez having been selected as an All-Star, his current contract now vests for 2010 with 600 plate appearances.
At that point, Sanchez, more than halfway there with 342 plate appearances into Sunday, is guaranteed an $8 million salary for 2010.
As one major-league executive noted Sunday, that's a lot of money for a player who gets hurt quite a bit. Most recently, Sanchez missed a week with a sore back.
If he doesn't reach 600 plate appearances this summer, the Pirates own an $8 million club option, and the Pirates can buy him out for $600,000 if they choose to not pick it up.
Among the teams that have been linked to trade talks with the Pirates are San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle and Tampa Bay.
The Giants, leading the NL wild-card hunt at the break, make a lot of sense because they are starved for offense.
You probably can discount the Twins, however. Industry sources say they're focusing on bullpen help. And $8 million is pretty pricey for them, unless the player's name is Justin Morneau or Joe Nathan.