While Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale is a viable name believed to be on the trading block this offseason, he’s joined by Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Not only is McCutchen said to be available, but the Pirates have been reported as the aggressor in trade talks.
They finished the year 78-83, 25 games back of the National League Central champion Chicago Cubs, and 8.5 games out of the Wild Card picture. Pittsburgh had reached the postseason via three consecutive Wild Card berths from 2013-15.
McCutchen, who has become synonymous with the franchise, was named the 2013 NL MVP. However, the five-time All-Star is coming off the worst season of his Major League career.
McCutchen hit .256/.336/.430 with 26 doubles, 24 home runs, 79 RBI and a 103 OPS+ over 153 games. What’s more, the one-time Gold Glove winner also struggled defensively and was worth a -28 Defensive Runs Saved.
Nonetheless the Washington Nationals are said to be in pursuit of McCutchen, and according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers also have interest:
The Dodgers have interest in McCutchen, sources say, and his relatively modest salary of $14 million in 2017 and his team option for $14.75 million in 2018 would help L.A. continue to shave away at its payroll, which could take a dramatic turn downward over the next couple of years.
Assuming Joc Pederson is not involved in a potential trade with the Pirates, where McCutchen would fit on the Dodgers roster isn’t immediately clear. He conceivably could move to a corner outfield spot, though there’s a logjam at each.
McCutchen hasn’t played any position other than center field during his eight seasons with the Pirates. Considering the 30-year-old is under team control through the 2018 season, the Pirates by no means are obligated to trade McCutchen this winter.
They’re in position to demand a noteworthy return, which may prevent the Dodgers from lining up as trade partners given their desire to retain top prospects.