The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their second major trade in the last few days, this time sending Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants, according to Ken Rosenthal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2018
It’s not a surprise that the Pirates ended up trading McCutchen. The Gerrit Cole trade signaled that they wouldn’t be contending in 2018, and McCutchen is only under team control for the 2018 season. There were also rumors that they were more open to dealing McCutchen after that trade, and that the Giants were looking to acquire him.
No word yet on the return, but I’ll keep this updated throughout the day.
UPDATE 3:54 PM: It looks like Heliot Ramos isn’t in the deal.
Random coming from me but Heliot Ramos isn’t in the trade to Pittsburgh either, per source. Not sure if that’s out there. https://t.co/areBTXuAWZ
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) January 15, 2018
Also no Tyler Beede…
— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) January 15, 2018
Nor Chris Shaw…
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 15, 2018
Although, Morosi reporting it might mean that Chris Shaw is in the trade. More updates to come.
UPDATE 4:22 PM: Kyle Crick is reportedly part of the deal, according to Alex Pavlovic.
Per source, Kyle Crick is part of the McCutchen trade.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) January 15, 2018
UPDATE 4:26 PM: I’m guessing Crick isn’t the main part of the deal, especially since Pavlovic said the MLB piece wouldn’t be a big piece. I’ll give some thoughts on him while we wait for the rest of it. He’s a hard-throwing reliever, averaging 95.4 MPH on his fastball last year and topping out at 97.3. Crick used to be a top prospect, but had command issues, and eventually moved to the bullpen. Last year he had a 3.06 ERA and a 5.30 xFIP in 30 appearances in the majors, with a 7.8 K/9 and a 4.7 BB/9, so clearly the control issues are still there. He could be a good reclamation project, although I wouldn’t count on him as a starting option at this point. Clearly the Pirates need someone better as the main part of the return here.
That said, they’ve assembled an interesting group of relievers this offseason, adding Nick Burdi and Jordan Milbrath in the Rule 5 draft, then adding Michael Feliz in the Gerrit Cole trade, and now reportedly Crick in this trade. If they can turn it around quickly, they could have a few hard-throwing, talented relievers to pair with Felipe Rivero in the back of the bullpen, depending on how these guys progress.
UPDATE 4:59 PM: Jeff Passan says that Bryan Reynolds is a name that has bounced around in trade talks for McCutchen.
One name that has bounced around in Andrew McCutchen trade talks is OF Bryan Reynolds. Pirates are getting Kyle Crick for sure and Reynolds could be part of the deal that sent McCutchen to San Francisco.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2018
Baseball America rated Reynolds the fifth best prospect in the system, and if the previous three prospects aren’t in the deal, he would be the best prospect available in the Giants’ system.
UPDATE 5:17 PM: Reynolds and Crick are the return, according to Andrew Baggarly.
Confirmed: Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick to Pittsburgh for McCutchen. Unclear if there is any money being exchanged. Doesn't appear to be.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) January 15, 2018
Reynolds has an interesting bat, hitting for a .312/.364/.462 line in High-A last year, while cutting down on his strikeouts. Baseball America said that some scouts question his ability to reach his power potential, which could impact his future upside. This gives another outfield option in the system for the future if Austin Meadows doesn’t work out.
For those of you who have read my comments about going for a lower-level guy who hasn’t really broken out, Reynolds would kind of fit that bill. There’s no guarantee he adds to his power and improves his stock, but that’s never a guarantee with any player. But if he does figure it out and maximizes his power potential, while also maintaining his solid hitting skills, then he could see his prospect status increase in the future.
I’ll have more thoughts on the deal later.
UPDATE 6:13 PM: Jon Morosi says the Pirates are sending cash to the Giants in the deal to pay part of Andrew McCutchen’s 2018 salary.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 15, 2018
UPDATE 6:25 PM: The Pirates have officially announced the move. They also received $500,000 in international bonus pool space.
UPDATE 6:32 PM: The Pirates issued statements from their front office.
Bob Nutting: “There is simply nothing easy about this decision. It is one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure. Not only because of the type of player Andrew is, but also because of Andrew the person and for what he has meant to me personally, to our organization, to our fans, and to our community. It has been an honor to see first-hand Andrew grow into the man that he is today. I was there for his first workout at Pirate City in Bradenton. Even as a teenager his smile and energy were infectious. His talent was on full display for our fans from the moment he made his Major League debut; to the signing of his contract extension; to his MVP season in 2013 and his leadership role in our three straight Postseason appearances. Andrew helped create so many special memories both on and off the field for me, our organization and our fans. He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace. He will be forever appreciated and celebrated by the Pirates organization. I want to thank Andrew and Maria for all they have done for the Pirates organization. We wish them and their family nothing but the best.”
Frank Coonelly: “Making the right decision for the Pirates organization is at times difficult and, on rare occasions, painful. The decision we announce today is both, and particularly the latter. Andrew McCutchen joined the Major League Club in 2009 and immediately became the face of our franchise. He did so with remarkable dignity, grace and maturity. His smile and edge were brilliant and his will to win was second-to-none. While many others made significant contributions as well, no individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch, and no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh. Andrew’s decision in the spring of 2012 to sign a long-term contract with the Club was a turning point for the organization, as it literally signaled that he believed in what was happening here and that others, both on the Club and elsewhere in baseball, could believe in us as well. Andrew was our unquestioned leader on and off the field, and his on-field accomplishments during his nine seasons here place him among the all-time Pirates greats.
“As tremendous as Andrew is on the baseball field, he is even more special off of it. By dedicating himself to making a difference in the lives of so many others in our community, Andrew has truly lived the Roberto Clemente legacy of ensuring that he does not waste a single moment of his time here on earth. All of our fans, and especially the kids, wanted to get to know Cutch, and Andrew never said no. The countless hours that he and Maria gave of their time and their love were recognized in 2015 when Andrew became the first Pirate since Willie Stargell to be awarded the prestigious Clemente Award by MLB. On behalf of the entire Pirates organization, I thank Andrew for his enormous contributions to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh community and we wish Andrew, Maria and Steel the very best as Andrew continues his career in San Francisco.”
Neal Huntington: “Andrew has been the center-point of the return of the Pittsburgh Pirates to a playoff-caliber baseball team. He played a significant and special role on our 2013-15 clubs that brought playoff baseball back to Pittsburgh. His accomplishments on the field are plentiful and deserve our respect and appreciation but he has also continued to be a terrific role model as a person off the field. Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball. This decision was an incredibly difficult one to make. We truly appreciate all that Andrew has done for this organization, city, fan-base and the game of baseball and wish him nothing but success in his future in and beyond the game of baseball.”
Huntington also commented on Crick and Reynolds…
Huntington on Crick: “Kyle Crick is a physical, Major League-ready right-handed reliever who brings a high-velocity, live fastball complimented by a quality slider to potentially pitch in a late inning role for the Pirates. Kyle’s power arsenal has resulted in a high strikeout rate complimented by inducing a lot of weak contact. After his first exposure to the Major League level last season, Kyle appears ready to take the next steps in what should be a productive career as a high leverage Major League relief pitcher.”
Huntington on Reynolds: “Bryan Reynolds is an intelligent, athletic, hard-working baseball prospect who does many things well on a baseball field. Bryan is an effective offensive player that also plays quality defense. We look forward to working with Bryan to maximize his tools and help him become a quality well-rounded Major League player who can impact a game in many ways beyond his quality bat.”
I think the most significant thing here is that Huntington refers to Crick as a future relief pitcher. So you probably shouldn’t be penciling him in as a possible rotation option any time soon.
UPDATE 6:42 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports the Pirates are sending $2.5 M in the deal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2018
I’ve got the Pirates’ payroll at about $81.5 M right now, although payroll is pretty much irrelevant in 2018 since they won’t be contending.