3. Pittsburgh Pirates
After all that buildup and chatter, it appears the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be trading franchise icon Andrew McCutchen this winter. After thinking they had a deal in place to trade McCutchen to the Washington Nationals, those talks broke down. Now, the Pirates do not expect to aggressively shop their center fielder to potential trade partners.
The Pirates come out of the Winter Meetings looking a little silly. The move to trade McCutchen now, with two years of control remaining and the team a potential contender next year, was surprising to say the least. Shopping him so aggressively and publicly will only serve to reduce the team’s leverage when the time does come to pull the trigger on a trade. To make matters worse, the rest of the league now knows exactly what type of return the Pirates were expecting for their All-Star and MVP.
McCutchen should be able to handle his near-trade with his typical grace, but knowing that his front office is ready to move on from this current championship window could sour him on staying in Pittsburgh long term, which might actually not be out of the question given the current state of the market. If ownership is not even interested in paying McCutchen under $30 million for the next two seasons, how serious can they be about fielding a winner year in and year out? The Pirates are going to have to trade McCutchen at some point this season or next winter, but their early attempts did not go well.