Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Blue Jays Interested in McCutchen

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

What could the Pittsburgh Pirates Target from the Blue Jays?

Although the Toronto Blue Jays do not have the best farm system, they do possess some quality prospects in the lower minors.  Headlining their farm is Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Guerrero was recently ranked the Jay’s #1 overall prospect and deemed most likely untouchable in any trades.  The Jays signed him to a very large bonus of 3.9 million dollars as an international signing in 2015. The Pittsburgh Pirates would love to get him in a deal, but so would any team, hence why the Jays likely would not move him.

After Guerrero there is a slew of intriguing international prospects. None of these prospects are highly ranked players like Lucas Giolito or Victor Robles, but they are young and rising prospects across baseball. We know that the Pittsburgh Pirates really wanted top outfield prospect Victor Robles from the Nationals.  The Blue Jays current #2 prospect is outfielder Anthony Alford.  Alford is known for his athleticism, and many believe he has projectable power.  He is a raw athlete with good size, something the Pittsburgh Pirates like in their outfield prospects.

Two other interesting options are their current #5 prospect Richard Urena and #6 prospect Rowdy Tellez.  Urena entered the 2016 season as the Jays #1 prospect and #74 in baseball.  Last year between High-A and Double-A, Urena hit a combined .295 and scouts believe he will remain at shortstop.  Tellez is a first base prospect who is projected to reach the majors in 2017.  He crushed Double-A pitching last year batting .297 with 23 home runs.  He also had a ridiculous OPS of .917 because he slugged .530 and got on base at a .387 clip.  Tellez projects to be more of designated hitter in the American League, but he does provide average defense at first base.

Why look at these two specific prospects?  First off, they are two top ten prospects so they would be of interest to acquire to reclaim value.  Second, because they could allow the Bucs to become more creative if they are serious about acquiring Jose Quintana.  The White Sox are going to demand one, if not two, top prospects if they will trade Quintana.  Many have speculated that they would want some combination of Josh Bell, Austin Meadows, Kevin Newman, and Tyler Glasnow.

If the Bucs acquired Tellez, then they would have an immediate replacement at first base if they dealt Bell.  If the Bucs decided it was worthwhile to trade Meadows, they could shift Bell back to right-field and have Tellez at first. Meanwhile Alford would represent the outfield prospect who would be pushing to the majors down the road, like they envisioned with Robles.  Meanwhile if the Bucs decided to part with top Double-A short stop prospect Kevin Newman, they would have another solid AA shortstop prospect in Urena.  The Bucs may feel better about dealing prospects if they can add some in another deal to help replace the ones lost.