With the Winter Meetings officially under way, the Pittsburgh Pirates have plenty of work to do. Among all the rumors, one sticks out. A top their list is finding a trade fit for Andrew McCutchen.
Jon Morosi, a MLB insider for the MLB Network and Fox Sports has been keeping up to date on McCutchen. Morosi has been covering the McCutchen saga since it officially started in the middle of November. Looking back, Jon Morosi was the columnist who broke the story that the Seattle Mariners pursued a deal for the Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder. Morosi wrote about the talks:
The Mariners spoke with the Pirates about McCutchen earlier this offseason, sources said over the weekend. Those talks did not advance, the sources indicated, but a trade fit still exists: Seattle wants right-handed power and could play McCutchen in left field, where a combination of two unproven players (Shawn O’Malley and Guillermo Heredia) is the current setup.
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Morosi was also the first insider to really suggest that it made sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates to make a trade. While the general consensus around the league did not agree. Many questioned if the Bucs would get enough back for the center fielder who is coming off a down season. Morosi said back on November 21:
The Pirates are willing to trade McCutchen this offseason, for a number of reasons: They have an in-house replacement to play center field, Starling Marte, whose metrics say would be a defensive upgrade. The Bucs’ payroll — MLB’s sixth lowest in 2016 — makes McCutchen’s salary unwieldy as he enters his 30s. And it would be harder to extract good talent from other teams in a trade next offseason, when there is only one year remaining on McCutchen’s contract.
Many other insiders started to get on board with this idea and started checking around the league. The general consensus they found was that the Bucs could get a worthy return. With that teams started to be connected based on need. Then all of a sudden the Washington Nationals emerged as the top suitor last week. Many thought a deal was going to take place before the meetings, but here we are now. Many other teams have shown interest including the Rangers. However, Jon Morosi is still convinced that the Nationals will end up with #22. Here is what he wrote after spending time at the Winter Meetings tonight:
McCutchen, OF: The Pirates have done little — publicly or privately — to tamp down speculation that they’re about to trade the 2013 National League MVP Award winner. Team officials believe moving McCutchen is a reality of their market, especially with Starling Marte (a brilliant defender) poised to take over in center field. The fact that McCutchen posted an .852 OPS after Aug. 1 should ease suitors’ concerns over a sluggish first half.
Most likely destination: The Nationals. They’ve been talking. They’re still talking. Let’s see if Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is willing to put outfield prospect Victor Robles in the offer.
This was part of his 5 signings and 5 trades that will happen this week
Based on what Morosi is writing it seems like the feeling at the Winter Meetings is Cutch will be a National. Morosi is questioning whether or not Rizzo is willing to part with top outfield prospect Victor Robles, who the Bucs apparently are demanding. Many expect the Pirates to get at-least one young arm in the deal as well. One issue is that the Nationals are in on Chris Sale, and might be holding Robles out to use in that deal instead. Be sure to be paying attentiaon over the coming day to see where talks go. It seems Morosi has been on top of the McCutchen talk, and of course always watch Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal’s reports as well.