What will the Pirates do with Andrew McCutchen?
This is undoubtedly the biggest question surrounding the Pirates this offseason so let’s get it out of the way first.
There is no denying that center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ franchise since he made his Major League debut in 2009. Since then McCutchen has been a six-time All-Star, he has won a Gold Glove, he has been a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and he was the 2013 National League MVP.
Andrew McCutchen has solidified himself as one of the five best Pirates of all-time. The first nine seasons of his Major League career have McCutchen on his way to Cooperstown. However, it is possible he has played his final game as a Pirate.
Last offseason the Pirates came incredibly close to trading McCutchen to the Washington Nationals for a package involving Gio Gonzalez, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez. That trade, of course, did not happen and McCutchen then had a great 2017 season in Pittsburgh.
For the 2018 season Andrew McCutchen has a club option worth $14.5 million that the Pirates will pick up. At this point he will officially be in his last year under contract with the Pirates.
After picking up McCutchen’s option, what will the Pirates do? Will they trade their superstar? Or, as I expect to happen, will he be back in Pittsburgh as the Pirates attempt to make one last run at a World Series in the McCutchen Era.
The entire offseason should be built around what happens with Andrew McCutchen. If the Pirates keep him then add to this team and prepare for a serious postseason push in 2018. If he is traded, then blow things up and start over.
We will have to wait and see what the Pirates do with Andrew McCutchen this offseason, but it is by far the biggest question that Neal Huntington must answer this offseason.