The rumors surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates have mainly been about Gerrit Cole. However, Josh Harrison‘s name has appeared some and he may be the most likely trade candidate on the team.
Last off-season, the main rumor surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates was the possibility of Andrew McCutchen being traded. This off-season the big rumors are now surrounding Gerrit Cole. However, playing second fiddle to those rumors has consistently been Josh Harrison’s name. Last year it was reported that the Bucs were looking to offload his contract, then he was still owed at least $17.5 million dollars and coming off one of his worst seasons. The main team that showed interest was the Los Angeles Dodgers, who instead dealt for Logan Forsythe, promptly ending speculation of Harrison being dealt.
Well enter this offseason and the rumors picked up right away. Harrison was coming off a solid season and teams immediately showed interest in the versatile player. First, it was the Mets who reportedly showed interest back at the beginning of December. This made sense as the Mets are looking to replace Neil Walker, who they traded away in August. Then, a day later, it was reported that the Blue Jays were interested as well. The Jays current second baseman Devon Travis is often injured and Harrison would give them quality insurance to back him up, along with the ability to play other positions. Still, both these reports came out before the Winter Meetings, and not much was reported after.
Yesterday, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Rob Biertempfel shed some light on the latest rumblings around Josh Harrison. Biertempfel says that Harrison is drawing “considerable trade interest” in his column, saying:
"Several teams have inquired about infielder Josh Harrison, according to industry sources, as Pirates management mulls ways to retool the roster for 2018 and beyond."
Trading Harrison would clear at least $11.5 million for the Bucs to reallocate elsewhere into the club. Harrison is owed $10.5 million this next year, and he has options for 2019 and 2020 which can be bought out for $1 million. With that, Biertempfel also notes that a new team has entered the fray for Harrison’s talents.
"Harrison has been targeted by the New York Yankees, who also are interested in pitcher Gerrit Cole. The New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays are among a handful of other clubs that have contacted the Pirates about Harrison’s availability."
It makes sense for the Yankees to be interested. They have lost both their third baseman and second baseman this off-season. Also, in terms of Yankees contracts, Harrison’s is somewhat of a bargain. With their interest in Gerrit Cole, including Harrison could help push along a trade. Right now it seems that the Bucs are asking for a very high price from the Yankees for Cole. Adding Harrison could help sweeten the pot some and allow the Bucs to get the exact prospects they are targeting from the Bronx Bombers.