Pirates Would Listen on Andrew McCutchen

Keith Law of ESPN hears that the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t consider Andrew McCutchen untouchable, and would listen to offers for the center fielder.  McCutchen just finished his second full season in the majors, hitting for a .259/.364/.456 line with 23 homers in 572 at-bats.  He’s currently the only impact player on the Pirates’ roster, and is easily their best offensive performer.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise.  The Pirates should listen to offers on any player, whether that’s their best player in the majors, their best prospect in the minors, or any player who is rumored to be on the trade block in a given year.  There’s a big gap between “willing to listen on a player” and “actively shopping a player”, so I wouldn’t take this as a sign that McCutchen will be dealt anytime soon.

Back in July I looked at McCutchen’s trade value and saw that it would essentially be impossible to trade him, since the return would be bigger than any team could afford.  The Pirates could get four top 50 prospects in return for McCutchen, and they still wouldn’t see the proper value. Putting it another way, they could get two top 10 hitting prospects, and they’d still need a top 26-50 hitting prospect to complete the deal.  McCutchen is a star player at a position that is hard to fill, making a low salary for the next four years.  All of that combined makes it extremely hard to match his value.

In the article above, Law is quoted as saying that if McCutchen is looking for a Justin Upton type deal (6 years/$51.25 M) he would give it to him, rather than letting McCutchen go play for someone else in 2012.  That would be my preference as well.  Six years and $51.25 M is a huge value for McCutchen, especially if he improves on his already strong numbers.  It buys out two free agent years in the process, which ideally is two more years that Cutch is on the same team with guys like Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.

It makes sense for the Pirates to entertain offers, because you never know how much teams would be willing to give.  I’m sure we could all think of offers we wouldn’t turn down for McCutchen.  I would be surprised if any of those offers were actually made, since I don’t think there’s a team out there who could afford to deal for McCutchen.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Todd Smith

    I’m laughing at the visual of Bob Smizik angrily pounding away on his keyboard right now.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not surprised.  McCutchen goes to arbitration next season, if he isn’t extended.  The Pirates just off loaded around $20M in salary options this year.  I am not surprised at all that they will consider trading McCutchen.

    The first priority should be to get him extended but if they can’t do the Huntington must consider trades for him.  In support of that idea, if he thinks that Marte, Grossman and Bell will be good to above average players, Huntington would be trading from strength.

    This team isn’t good enough to compete any time soon.  A reasonable guess would be 2014 or 15.  Those would be McCutchen’s last two years.  If ownership isn’t going to commit the resources for McCutchen, Huntington has to consider his trade options.

  • Anonymous

    jason Churchhill also says that Cutch is arb eligible this winter, not true. In that article. Thing is he just might not want to stay even for Upton $. Take his unreal arb #s in 2014 and 2015 and then cash out in 2016 for like 8 years and $180mill.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not entirely convinced that he is untradeable. Look at the haul Texas got for Mark Teixeira from the Braves or the A’s got from Arizona for Dan Haren. Those types of deals are unusual, but they happen.

    • Anonymous

      There are teams that would give up enough to get him.  I don’t think McCutchen is the least bit untradeable.  The Pirates have to get at least 3 of any team’s top 5 prospects for McCutchen right now.  At least 2 of them have to be MLB ready now. 

  • Bob Martin

    Sounds like the Pirates are getting the fans ready for an unloading of McCutchens..They are not willing or able to meet his asking price, so its time to unload him for prospect as soon as Marte is ready..

    • Anonymous

      Have not heard anything from the Pirates about any kind of deal with McCutchen, including trading him!

  • Anonymous

    If it were me, I would consider trading anyone, if they can get two very good hitting prospects for McCutchen, that would take care of the hitting that McCutchen would bring to the table, as far as McCutchen’s defense, they have at least 2 guys in the system that are as good as he is if not better.

    • Anonymous

      I’m assuming you mean Grossman and Marte.  I agree.  If the team feels they can’t get a deal with him, then they have to deal him.  If the team thinks Grossman or Marte will provide good offense, then they are dealing from a position of strength or at least depth.  I do think they have to get more than two top hitting prospects. I think three top prospects has to be the number, if the trade happened now.

      • Anonymous

        Defensively I meant Hernadez and Marte, Grossman is an average outfielder.
        Stat wise, McCutchen should bring 3 good hitters, but scouting wise, he wouldn’t, he does have some holes in his game, although a fast outfielder, he does not always read the ball well off the bat, he does have at best and average throwing arm and remember in the month of Sept 2011, he hit below 150.

  • Anonymous

    Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez, Mike Olt and Leonys Martin for McCutchen. That is, if the Rangers want to sell their entire farm system for one player.

    • Anonymous

      They picked up a farm system for Tex, so they would seem to be the most likely partner. They’re close,  having been beaten in the last 2 world series’. If Cutch is truly unsignable, these types of rumors are going to become commonplace. The Pirates fell apart, not because they lost Bonds and Bonilla and such, but because they got no compensation for them and had no comparable players to take their place.

    • Anonymous

      And Mitch Moreland for me too would have to be added.

  • Ian Rothermund

    I agree with some of the people on here saying that McCutchen shouldn’t be untouchable.  Obviously, at this point in time, it may be highly unlikely that we would get a proper value for him.  However, I am personally sick of the attachment that some of the Pittsburghers have to the players that come to the Pirates.  I’ve liked a good many of the players that have come into a Pirates uniform; loved Freddy Sanchez, liked Jason Bay, really liked Rob McCowiak.  But there’s one thing that I Love, Love, Love, way more than individual players that I’ve never met or personally interacted with, and that’s winning, and that’s what this should be about.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, the best way to account for his value would be to deal with the Nats and get Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, thought they would never do that in a million years

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t do anything right now and would continue to negotiate a long term contract with Cutch and if that doesn’t work by this time next year I would ask for the bank and everything in it—every possible frontline player and prospect possible as long as Andrew holds up his end of the bargain and m,akes himself SUPERMAN.     Rich D.

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