According to multiple reports, the San Francisco Giants have checked on the availability of Pittsburgh Pirates’ superstar center fielder Andrew McCutchen in trade talks. So, what could a trade between the Bucs and Giants look like?
Last offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates came close to trading superstar center fielder Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. This, of course, did not happen and McCutchen went on to have a strong 2017 campaign for the Bucs.
This offseason Neal Huntington and the Pirates will undoubtedly shop McCutchen, especially seeing as he is set to hit free agency following the 2018 season. There are plenty of teams that would be interested in adding McCutchen for the 2018 season, and, according to multiple reports, one of these teams in the San Francisco Giants.
With the Giants being interested in Andrew McCutchen the question then becomes what could a potential McCutchen traded between the Pirates and Giants look like?
The first step here is that trading a player with just one year remaining until free agency is tricky. First off, only having one year of control lowers their trade value. Secondly, if the Giants, or any team, is acquiring one year of Andrew McCutchen it means they are looking to win immediately lessening the chances of them trading away young Major League talent that the Pirates would undoubtedly pursue.
One player the Pirates would ask for from the Giants in an Andrew McCutchen trade would be right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede. Beede is the Giants’ top prospect, as well as their lone top-100 prospect. Additionally, the Pirates had interest in Beede at the 2015 trade deadline.
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At Triple-A last season Beede left a lot to be desired posting a 4.79 ERA and a 5.02 FIP in 109 innings pitched. So while Beede could, in theory, help the Pirates’ rotation quickly there are plenty of questions pertaining to rather or not he is ready for the Major Leagues yet.
After Beede, the Giants’ prospects start to leave a lot to be desired. This would make a trade between the Pirates and Giants involving Andrew McCutchen a very difficult one to find a match on.
22-year-old shortstop Christian Arroyo is another player that could be discussed. However, following the 2016 season he dropped out of Baseball America’s top-100 prospects. Then in 34 games (135 plate appearances) at the Major League level in 2017 he posted a 23.7 percent strikeout rate, .237 wOBA, a wRC+ of 44, and a -0.5 fWAR.
So, Neal Huntington and the Pirate may views Arroyo as a player trending in the wrong direction.
The Pirates would also undoubtedly ask about second baseman Joe Panik. Acquiring Panik would allow the Pirates to slide Josh Harrison to third base, or even trade Harrison in an effort to stock pile young talent to start to make another run in a year or two.
In 438 career games Panik owns a .327 wOBA, 107 wRC+, and a 9.6 fWAR. He has also become one of the best defensive second basemen in the Major Leagues. However, odds are, the Giants would not be interested in moving Panik.
Expanding the Giants’ prospect list, pitchers Garrett Williams and Andrew Suarez could be names tossed around in a potential Andrew McCutchen trade as well. The same goes for outfielder Heliot Ramos and OF/1B Chris Shaw.
The issue is none of these players are the type of high-end prospects you would expect in return for Andrew McCutchen. If the Pirates were offered a package of say Beede, Arroyo, and Panik for McCutchen, Neal Huntington may say yes. Even a prospect heavy package of Beede, Arroyo, and one of Williams or Suarez and Ramos or Shaw may generate interest from the Pirates.
However, it is tough to envision the Giants offering such packages. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Giants and Pirates are a match in any potential Andrew McCutchen trade.
While the San Francisco Giants have interest in trading for Andrew McCutchen, there is most likely no trade to be made between the Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates. It is tough to envision the Giants having the pieces available to acquire McCutchen based solely on minor league players, or including the young Major League talent needed to pull the deal off.
While Andrew McCutchen very well may be traded this offseason, it is unlikely that it would be to the San Francisco Giants.