Posted on January 9, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
All has been quietl on the Andrew McCutchen front for quite some time after a period earlier in the offseason when he appeared destined to be traded. However, rumors surfaced over the weekend indicating that teams are still contacting the Pittsburgh Pirates about the availability of the former MVP. The Pirates appeared resigned to the fact that they would have to keep McCutchen after talks with the Nationals fell apart and Washington traded for Adam Eaton instead. However, McCutchen leaving Pittsburgh appears to remain a possibility, with several destinations still on the table.
The Seattle Mariners are one of the teams specifically mentioned with regard to McCutchen. In separate trades last week, the Mariners parted ways with Seth Smith and then acquired speedster Jarrod Dyson. But considering how busy Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto has been on the trade market this winter, the Mariners making another trade or two can’t be ruled out. At the moment, Mitch Haniger is pencilled in to play right field for the Mariners, but trading for McCutchen and plugging him into right field isn’t out of the question. Seattle doesn’t have a particularly impressive farm system to make a trade for McCutchen happen, but Dipoto’s creativity in trades could help to overcome that obstacle and send McCutchen to Seattle.
The San Francisco Giants have also been mentioned as a possible destination. The plan as of now is for the Giants to platoon Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker in left field, although obviously McCutchen would be considered an upgrade, despite the former MVP coming off the worst season of his career. San Francisco has also been linked with Brian Dozier, so clearly the Giants are open to upgrading their offense via trade. Much like Seattle, a weak farm system could be an obstacle in a trade for McCutchen, but the Giants may have just enough to swing a deal with the Pirates.
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The Toronto Blue Jays have also been linked to McCutchen at various times this offseason, as recently as just before Christmas. Right field remains a position of uncertainty for the Blue Jays, and McCutchen could certainly help fill the power void left by the departures of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Toronto would likely benefit from a left-handed bat to help balance out its right-hand heavy lineup, but that wouldn’t stop them from acquiring McCutchen. The Blue Jays are also lacking a parade of blue-chip prospects, but they may have the pieces to satisfy Pittsburgh’s wishes in a trade for McCutchen.
Despite a reported eagerness to trade McCutchen earlier this winter, the Pirates now appear content to keep the former MVP, who has two years left on his contract. McCutchen has also let it be known that he prefers to remain in Pittsburgh. However, if the Pirates were offered the right deal, they would certainly re-consider trading him. Teams are still reportedly making calls about McCutchen, as there appears to be at least a few teams that have an interest in him. It still seems unlikely that a trade involving McCutchen will happen before the start of spring training, but it’s not completely off the table just yet.