Andrew McCutchen, the face of the Pirates as they returned to relevance, could soon be out in Pittsburgh.
Add Ken Rosenthal to the list of people who think the Pittsburgh Pirates are likely to deal former MVP and franchise cornerstone Andrew McCutchen before the July 31 trade deadline.
“What are the odds that the Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen?,” the FoxSports baseball analyst wrote. “I’m guessing good.”
McCutchen trade rumors were rampant during the offseason, with the Washington Nationals especially interested in landing the five-time All-Star center fielder. Those talks went nowhere, with Washington eventually trading for Adam Eaton instead.
As Rosenthal points out, the Pirates are actually in a worse position this season (six games out of first, more than 10 back for a wild card spot) than they were last season, when they traded closer Mark Melancon and left-handed starter Francisco Liriano at the deadline.
“McCutchen … is more of an institution in Pittsburgh than Melancon was,” Rosenthal writes. “But the Pirates discussed McCutchen in trades last offseason; the shock value of dangling him is gone.”
Just a few weeks ago, a McCutchen deal seemed unlikely. His production was so bad it was hard to imagine a team wanting to take on the struggling 30-year-old.
But McCutchen has been red hot since being dropped to the No. 6 spot in the batting order. In June, he is hitting a sizzling .375/.438/.676 with four homers and six doubles. Any team looking to add a bat will be intrigued.
McCutchen’s contract includes a $14.5 million team option for 2018, so he would be more than a rental.
“He’s starting to look like this year’s Melancon,” Rosenthal writes.
One other reason McCutchen could be moved: The Pirates may not see a place for him in their outfield of the future, which could include Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and top prospect Austin Meadows.