Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Andrew McCutchen Trade

The offseason has really started to get going with rumors. The non tender deadline is Friday and the Winter Meetings are starting on Sunday. Talks always heat up at the Winter Meetings, and that should be expected this year.

The collective bargaining agreement expires, and there has not been an agreement as of yet.  This has not stopped players and teams from making deals.  Yoenis Cespedes signed a four-year deal worth $110 million with the New York Mets.  The Seattle Mariners have been activated, and their most noteworthy deal came recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

There has been long speculation that Andrew McCutchen. We’ve written about him here on RumBunter, and there is plenty more elsewhere as well.  He’s the golden goose this offseason for most teams this offseason.  The long thought has been the Pirates can sit back and wait for the offer.  Jeff Passan, of Yahoo! Sports, reports otherwise.  The fact the Pirates are the aggressor does not quite add up, as McCutchen still has two seasons of control left.

The Andrew McCutchen news does not stop there, however.  Stephen Nesbitt, of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, wrote today:

The Pirates are actively shopping center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to multiple sources, and the likelihood of a trade is increasing as the winter meetings approach. The front office has started pursuing specific teams in an effort to work out a trade for young talent.

The winter meetings always seemed like the target of a trade date surrounding McCucthen.  All teams and general managers will be in attendance, and Neal Huntington can talk deals.  The striking thing from Nesbitt is the want of young talent.  The Pirates, as we know via Ken Rosenthal, were in talks with the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline in 2016.  The talks focused around prospect Victor Robles, who most seemingly fits the bill.

Nesbitt adds in the post:

The Pirates discussed a McCutchen trade with the Washington Nationals, the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners, according to sources, and are looking primarily for prospects in return.

Robles is the Nationals number two prospect on MLB Pipeline, and he also ranks number 10 in their top 100 list.  In fact, the Nationals have four top 100 prospects, the other three are pitcher Lucas Giolito (3), pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (37), and pitcher Erick Fedde (75).  All three pitchers are big league ready, and that could entice the Pirates.

The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, only have one top 100 prospect in left-handed pitcher Yohander Mendez, a soon to be 22-year-old, and he ranks number 55 overall.  The Seattle Mariners have just two top 100 prospects, last years first round pick, an outfielder named Kyle Lewis (28), and a 21-year-old outfielder in Tyler O’Neill (59).

McCutchen is still projected to be the Pirates best positional player, projected to have a WAR of 3.6 according to steamer.  Starling Marte ranks second with a projected WAR of 2.9.  McCutchen’s projected wRC+ of 129 is also the best on the team, with Marte and Jung Ho Kang projected at 112.  McCutchen will surely be missed by the Pirates.

Since the club are the aggressors, I would expect a deal to be done next week, and of the three teams that Nesbitt lists, the Washington Nationals present the best opportunity to acquire both top-notch young talent and controllable pitching.

*Numbers from fangraphs

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