Pittsburgh Pirates: Notes from MLB Insider Jon Heyman

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 22: Pitcher Gerrit Cole(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 22: Pitcher Gerrit Cole(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /

Jon Heyman, one of baseball’s most respected insiders, has released some rumors and notes on the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The trade deadline is now just 10 days away.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have just completed a sweep of the first place Milwaukee Brewers.  With the sweep, they have now climbed back in the NL Central race and are just three games back from first place.  With that, many are wondering what approach the Pittsburgh Pirates will take over the next week or so with the trade deadline quickly approaching.  Questions such as: Will the Pittsburgh Pirates make a significant move?  Will the Pittsburgh Pirates sell off pending free agents and try to get pieces for this year and next year?  Will the Bucs still consider trading players like Andrew McCutchen and/or Gerrit Cole?  Well, Jon Heyman has an update on the McCutchen and Cole front.  Heyman wrote in his most recent article on FanRag Sports that:

"“Word out of a Pirates person is that Andrew McCutchen is unlikely to be traded, and Gerrit Cole is even less likely. Of course, that doesn’t mean folks won’t be trying. Cole has two years to go before free agency, and the conventional wisdom is that he’d thrive with a change of scenery.”"

So Heyman’s sources are telling him that neither one is likely to be traded.  This makes sense for obvious reasons.  The biggest being that the team is looking at potential division race over the next two months.  To build on that, it also would be tough to sell to the fans that trading either one of them at this point of the season, even if the return was significant, is beneficial for the club.

The best thing is that the Pittsburgh Pirates are not in a corner with either player.  Both players have control beyond 2017, and the Bucs can reconsider their trade market this offseason.  Furthermore, in terms of the current outfield market, there really is not a big one.  The Diamondbacks fleeced the Tigers for JD Martinez.  The snakes did not give up one top 100 prospect for a player who is raking this season, so the market for Cutch will likely not materialize over the next 10 days.

Heyman also provided an interesting note on Josh Harrison.  Harrison’s name surfaced in trade rumors this past off season.  The Pittsburgh Pirates did not find any teams willing to part with significant talent for the second baseman who was coming off a down season.  However, Harrison has had a better year.  He made the all-star game, has posted a strong slash line and is continuing to provide above average defense at second base and third base. With that being said, there are teams who are looking for help at both positions listed.  One team, in particular is the Boston Red Sox.   Heyman lists the Sox as the most logical suitor for the two time all star.  Heyman writes:

"“Word is the Pirates are asking a lot for All-Star Josh Harrison. That shouldn’t be seen as a surprise. The Red Sox are one team interested. Word is, Harrison would love to go.”"

The most attractive thing about Josh Harrison is that he can play multiple positions.  If the Sox acquired him he would fill a huge hole in their lineup at third base.  However, the Red Sox top prospect is a third baseman who will likely be ready next season.  In most cases this could be an issue, but with Harrison’s position flexibility the Sox would be able to use Harrison in multiple roles.  This is literally what made Josh Harrison’s career, the super utility role.  He also comes with a relatively team friendly contract, especially for a big market team.  Harrison has one year of guaranteed control left at $10 million, with two option years in 2019 and 2020.

The really interesting part of Heyman’s quote is that he “would love to go”.  This sends mixed signals.  Some view this as that Harrison would love to be traded.  However, I am taking it as that if he were to be traded, he would love to go to Boston.  Harrison seems to really enjoy Pittsburgh and he has never shown any notion that he would like to be elsewhere.

Next: Freese and Harrison Rumors

All in all, Heyman does not really clarify the Pittsburgh Pirates plans going forward.  However, he still lists some interesting notes on three players whose names have been all over the rumor mill since December.  Be sure to check out Heyman’s full article as he also makes notes on Felipe Rivero rumors, Marte’s return, and the Pirates decision to keep Cutch in center field.