Rumors: Is Pittsburgh Pirates starting center fielder Andrew McCutchen a match for the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants?
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a very interesting situation this offseason in regards to Andrew McCutchen. Even more so than last offseason, Cutch is more likely to be dealt this winter. This is mainly due to the fact that he is entering the last year of his contract. With him entering free agency next year, McCutchen will likely be priced out of the Pittsburgh Pirates future.
So far this offseason, there has not been a lot of rumors regarding McCutchen. Part of the issue is how slowly the outfield market is playing out. First, Giancarlo Stanton was holding up things. With his deal done to the Yankees, it leaves Cutch as the top option on the trade market. However, the free agency market still is far from settled. Top outfield free agents like J.D Martinez, Lorenzo Cain, and Jay Bruce are still unsigned. A player like Martinez projects to bring as much, if not more, offensive value as McCutchen at this point. Meanwhile, Bruce and Cain can be had for just straight money versus a team’s prospects.
So who is a match for Cutch? The only team that has been reported to show interest thus far is the San Francisco Giants. The Giants missed out during the Stanton sweepstakes. They also traded Matt Moore clearing about $9 million dollars. Their front office spoke about how they will be able to reallocate Moore’s money to help upgrade their lineup. So it could be possible they are setting themselves up to make a move for their outfield. The club also dealt outfielder Denard Span to the Tampa Bay Rays for Evan Longoria, freeing up a spot in the outfield.
The other West Coast team that could be in play for McCutchen could be the Dodgers. After their recent salary trade with the Braves, there is speculation that the Dodgers are looking to add an outfielder. The trade with the Braves allowed the Dodgers to get under the luxury tax. With that, Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers mlb.com writer, speculated that the Dodgers could be in play for McCutchen:
Cutch would keep the Dodgers payroll under the luxury tax lines. Also, they have one of the better farm systems in baseball. Therefore, they would have the pieces to send back to the Pirates to entice the club to trade away their franchise player. Meanwhile, on the Dodgers side of things, they get a potential all-star to help get them back to the World Series. He would join an outfield already made up by Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor. They do have Joc Pederson as well, but Pederson has not proven that he can play against left-handed pitching.
A deal seems likely this offseason. If the Pittsburgh Pirates acquire Clint Frazier from the Yankees, then the odds are even more likely. Both the Dodgers and Giants are in need of an outfielder, the Giants more so than the Dodgers. When will a deal happen? Who knows. It really comes down to if the Bucs can get a proper return and how the free agent market shakes out.