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Pavano possible, if price is right

Baseball’s free-agent market will soon enter its bargain-basement phase, when unsigned players lower their asking prices lure bidders.

“While we accomplished a significant amount during the Winter Meetings with the acquisitions of (Kevin) Correia, (Lyle) Overbay and (Matt) Diaz, we are likely not finished,” prez Frank Coonelly said the other day in an online chat.

The Pirates continue to search for bullpen help — particularly a couple of left-handers — and possibly a starting pitcher.

“We continue to monitor the market and we have ongoing dialogue on multiple fronts, but I wouldn’t say anything in imminent,” GM Neal Huntington told me today.

It’s fair to say the Pirates have at least some interest in starter Carl Pavano, but only if the contract terms — money and years — are right. They are not willing to set the market price, which means Pavano might end up staying with the Twins. Pavano, who will turn 35 on Saturday, reportedly is seeking a three-year deal for at least $30 million.

The most notable lefty reliever still available is Brian Fuentes, who would prefer to close games. The Pirates have not yet anointed either of their closers-in-waiting — Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek — as their stopper in 2011, but management would prefer to settle the issue before the start of spring training.

Acquiring Fuentes might make it easier for the Pirates to trade either Hanrahan or Meek, if there’s a deal out there that would net a shortstop or starting pitcher.

»»» Tonight, Huntington is flying to Bradenton, Fla., to prepare for mini-camp, which begins Monday morning at Pirate City. Manager Clint Hurdle and many of the players will report Sunday. Most of the players on the 40-man roster — with a few notable execptions, such as Paul Maholm and Ryan Doumit — will attend the voluntary workouts.

»»» The Pirates’ amateur scouts are in Bradenton for their marathon pre-draft planning sessions. The Pirates have the No. 1 overall pick in the June 7 draft.

»»» To follow me on Twitter, look for @RobBiertempfel.

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