It finally happened. The 2013 National League MVP and the face of the Pirates has been traded. Andrew McCutchen will now wear cream and orange for the San Francisco Giants. During his tenure in Pittsburgh, McCutchen slashed .291/.379/.487 with 203 HR’s, 725 RBI’s, 841 runs, and 171 stolen bases.
Now that McCutchen is off the books, the Pirates are clearly in rebuild mode. In the deal, the Bucs will receive right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick, minor-league outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 to add to their international signing bonus pool.
Crick is a right-handed reliever who made his MLB debut last year and a solid one at that. In 32 and 1/3 innings, the righty was able to post a 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and a 1.65 strikeout to walk ratio. At age 25, he still has a lot left in the tank. Pirate fans will become very familiar with Crick as the season progresses and he gets late-inning work.
The other player piece of the trade was switch-hitting outfielder Bryan Renolds. Reynolds was drafted by San Francisco in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt. In two seasons between various levels of Class A ball, he has hit .312 with 16 homers and 101 batted in. He is only 22 years-old, giving him time to blossom into an effective major league outfielder and possible All-Star as the Pirates envision.
Could Pittsburgh have done better? Yes, probably so but they have dangled McCutchen in the market for two years now, decreasing his actual value. Is what they got in return terrible? Not at all. They got two young, talented players, one who is proven and one who isn’t yet, who could be key pieces for this franchise for the next 5-10 years. Andrew McCutchen is not replaceable immediately. It will take time and commitment to rebuilding.
I do not believe that the Pirates are done making moves just quite yet. They still have yet to move utility man and 2017 All-Star Josh Harrison whom they put on the block during the Winter Meetings last month. Harrison released a statement on Tuesday stating that he wants to play for a contender and if that was not in Pittsburgh’s plans, he’d like to be traded as well.
The unload continues. The two teams in New York, the Yankees and Mets are two teams most in need of second basemen at the moment. The Milwaukee Brewers have also expressed interest in Harrison as well as the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pirates already engaged in trade talks with the Yankees involving Gerrit Cole before moving him to Houston, and they may be speaking again soon regarding Josh Harrison.
Pittsburgh still has outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco who are arguably both in the top 20 ranked outfielders in the game. It is very unlikely that either of these two would get traded, but who knows. Marte was suspended for 80 games last season for PED use and looks to reestablish himself in 2018.
In the next few days expect for negotiations start to brew involving Josh Harrison. It is inevitable that a deal will be made at this point, but with who is the question. Pittsburgh has to assure that they are getting valuable assets in return such as prospects or already proven players.
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