4 Reasons Why the Pirates should Trade Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen is going to his age 30 season after having his worst year of his career(We’ll get to that) and at the age where players start thinking about championships. Andrew McCutchen has an MVP, been a 4-time Silver Slugger, and has had 5 All-Star Appearances, yet he hasn’t even been able to get to the NLCS throughout his career and also has only made one appearance in the NLDS where the Pirates lost to the Cardinals who went on to the World Series. If the Pirates don’t have any postseason success once more, sooner or later, Andrew McCutchen is going to want to go to a team that can get him a World Series. He is in his early 30s now and that is when players start thinking about winning if they haven’t gotten that yet. It’s better off if they get value for him right now and instead of waiting until later on when he will leave and the Pirates end up with nothing from one of the best hitters we have ever seen, unless of course, he is willing to re-sign with them.
2) Production Dropping
Andrew McCutchen has just came off a 2016 campaign where he had his worst year of his career. It still was pretty good, but not Andrew McCutchen like with a .256 Average, a .336 OBP, and a .766 OPS. Those are solid numbers, but they aren’t former MVP numbers. Even though those numbers aren’t like Andrew McCutchen, I still think that teams understand that he could still be the best player or an awesome contributor on their team. With that being said, we still must face the reality that he is 30 years of age and is on the decline. Although this was just a bad year, you can’t risk the fact that he can have another one of these years and teams will want even less value for him. On the other hand, if he plays better this year, you can still get good value out of him if you are the Pirates. However, his value will still soon fall and he will be less of an asset that we know he can be.
3) Bad Situation
The Pirates missed the 2016 playoffs, and when they made the playoffs from 2013-2015, they were eliminated in the Wild Card round or in the Divisional Round. Their current core is solid, but they aren’t true World Series contenders. They aren’t better than the Giants, they aren’t better than the Dodgers, they aren’t better than the Nationals, and they aren’t better than the Cubs. I haven’t even touched over the American League and that’s already 4 teams. I might have had a bit of an overstatement when I said it was a bad situation, but it still isn’t as good as it can be. Starling Marte is the only other All-Star hitter the Pirates have and he is just entering his prime. Gregory Polanco hasn’t quite hit his ceiling yet either and neither has Josh Bell. Those guys I just named are all the guys that can be all-stars next to McCutchen. I understand that the Pirates did have some injuries, but they also currently lack a true ace. Gerrit Cole can be that, but he has had only one ace-caliber season. You can say that neither he or Jameson Taillon have hit their primes yet, but that would still mean that they fall under a category of: “players that can be great, but aren’t great yet.” And once these guys become great, Andrew McCutchen’s contract will already be expired. There are too many question marks for McCutchen in Pittsburgh and better situations for him elsewhere.
The final and most important thing is his contract. He has two years left on his deal with the last being a club option which will most likely be accepted by whoever has him. Now is the time to trade him, because if you wait till next year, nobody will want to trade for a player that they can sign in free agency (unless he says where he wants to play which is unlikely). The big mistake in sports like baseball and basketball is that front offices often wait until the final year of their star’s contract to try and trade him and either get less value than they could have or get nothing at all. Right now, if you trade him to the Dodgers, you can get prospects like Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Jose De Leon. If you trade him to the Nationals, you can get prospects like Lucas Giolito, Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles. If you trade him to the Giants, you can get prospects like Christian Arroyo, Tyler Beede, Clayton Blackburn, to go along with either Jarrett Parker or Mac Williamson. Either way, the point is that when a star basically has two years left on his deal, he is more valuable than a player in his contract year. Now is the time to trade him, otherwise you won’t get nearly as much as you can for McCutchen.With all of this being said, I personally would want Cutch to stay with Pittsburgh or be traded to San Francisco. If the Pirates players end up becoming all-stars in this upcoming year, ignore this article because then Cutch would be in a nice situation in Pittsburgh.