3 Takeaways From The Pittsburgh Pirates Sweep Of The Texas Rangers
By Marty Leap
The Andrew McCutchen Trade Is Looking Like A Great One For The Pirates
On January 15, 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise changed forever. On this cold winter day general manager Neal Huntington traded outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who is a member of the Pirates’ Mount Rushmore, to the San Francisco Giants.
At the time of the trade many people, myself included, ridiculed it. The way I viewed it trading McCutchen wasn’t the issue. He was slated to hit free agency following the 2018 season, ace Gerrit Cole had just been traded, and it was clear the Pirates would be looking to rebuild in 2018, even though that team went on to surprise many folks by finishing with a winning record. The issue was that the return for McCutchen was perceived to be poor.
In return for one of the best, most important players in franchise history the Pirates received reliever Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds. Well, 17 months after the trade Huntington is the one who looks smart.
Last season, Crick was a key member of a strong Pirate bullpen. Crick posted a 2.39 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and a 25.5% strikeout rate in 60 1/3 innings pitched last season. So far in 2019, he has picked up where he left off at in 2018.
Through his first 8 innings pitched this season Crick has allowed just 6 base runners while striking out 8. Outside of a 4-run outing against the Diamondbacks last week, and poor defense had as much to do with the runs he allowed as anything else, Crick has not been scored upon this inning. This includes a scoreless 10th inning in Tuesday’s victory and a scoreless 8th inning on Wednesday.
Reynolds has now joined Crick in the impacting the Pirates in a positive way boat. After slashing .302/.381/.438 with a 128 wRC+ at Double-A Altoona last season, Reynolds started the 2019 campaign with Triple-A Indianapolis. When Marte went on the IL on April 20th Reynolds was promoted from the minor leagues, and he looks like a player that will never be sent back to Triple-A.
30 plate appearances into his MLB career Reynolds is slashing .414/.433/.724 with a 206 wRC+. Against the Rangers, Reynolds broke a 3-3 tie with a solo home run in the 11th inning on Tuesday night and he hit a 3-run double to break a 1-1 tie in the 4th inning on Wednesday.
During his 11 days in the Majors Reynolds has already hit 6 doubles. This puts him second on the team in doubles behind Josh Bell (9).
Both Reynolds and Crick played a big role in the Pirates sweeping the Rangers. And, with each game, they continue to make the McCutchen trade look like a good one for the Pirates. Six years of control with Crick and seven of Reynolds in exchange for one season of McCutchen is looking like a hell of a steal for the Pirates.