Andrew McCutchen Potential Trade Fit: Toronto Blue Jays
Editorial: With the off-season officially underway it is time for the rumor mill to really start going. Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen will be brought up a lot this off-season. Could the Toronto Blue Jays have interest?
Toward the end of the Pittsburgh Pirates season, many started to question if it would be Andrew McCutchen‘s final season in Pittsburgh. Many believe that Andrew McCutchen is disgruntled here in Pittsburgh, and that it would benefit both sides to split ways. From the Pirates side it makes sense. They can trade him while he still has relatively high value, regardless of him having a down season. They can also acquire a nice package of players back. The package would include some who could contribute in 2017 and some prospects.
On paper the Toronto Blue Jays may have the biggest need for an outfielder this off-season. Currently they have Kevin Pillar slotted in center field and Mevlin Upton in left. Meanwhile they potentially could be losing two outfielders to free agency in right-fielder Jose Bautista and platoon left-fielder Michael Saunders. The fact that they are losing two bats including one of their middle of the lineup hitters puts them in the position to acquire Cutch.
Buc’s Side of Things
Now as mentioned earlier, on paper it makes sense. The Jays have a need and they have shown in the past they are willing to make splashy moves. With that they may not be the best match for the Pittsburgh Pirates. One important thing is finding a team that can send back a package of players that represent fair value. One thing that has been made obvious is that the Pirates want at least a controllable starting pitcher and a top prospect. The Toronto Blue Jays do not have any young starters to offer other than Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez would be a fantastic pickup, but the Jays plan on having Sanchez along with Marcus Stroman as their top two arms for years to come.
Other Young Controllable Pitching
The Blue Jays top pitching prospect that they can offer would be Sean Reid-Foley. Foley will be getting his first taste of Double-A this year. He would not be a bad piece to build a deal around, but not exactly the starter that you would hope for. The only younger, controllable pitcher the Jays could offer is Joe Biagini. Biagini received his first big league experience this season and pitched fairly well. The issue is he was used out of the bullpen and did not make any starts. Not that he cannot be used a starter going forward, but obviously he was not considered to make a start for a below average rotation. Also he ranked as their 17th best prospect at the end of the 2015 season, not highly regarded. He likely will be used in the bullpen and make spot starts when needed.
Weak Farm System
The other issue is looking at the Jays farm system in general they do not have many top prospects. Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire ranked five and four in their system, but they likely would have been out of the Pittsburgh Pirates top ten when updated. The Blue Jays only have three players ranked in the top 100 and none listed above #74 overall. The Bucs are looking for elite prospects not borderline top 100 players.
All in all the Blue Jays definitely have a big need in the outfield. They have a hole in right-field and in the middle of their lineup that Andrew McCutchen could fill for them. However, the Blue Jays likely will not be willing to move one of Aaron Sanchez of Marcus Stroman for the Pirate’s star. With that they do not have a legitimate, young starting pitcher to offer back. Also take into account that their farm system in considered one of the weakest in baseball. The Jays do not have the elite prospects that the Bucs are looking for in a trade. The Blue Jays most likely would have interest in Andrew McCutchen, but I am not sure that they are the best team for the Pirates to deal with.
Also all stats from Baseball Reference
Finally, Comment Below