Rangers: A trade package to force Pirates hand with Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers are in on Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder/DH Andrew McCutchen. One problem, though: The Pirates don’t plan on trading Cutch.

Per Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Rangers have inquired about Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen early in this trade season. That’s all fine and good, but the Bucs aren’t in position yet to sell a team icon.

When McCutchen re-signed in Pittsburgh this offseason, it wasn’t as a rental candidate. He let Bob Nutting know he wanted to retire in the city he calls home. To trade McCutchen would alienate players around baseball, as well as the fanbase.

FanSided’s Robert Murray says that any trade of Cutch is unlikely at this juncture. That point was driven home by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Mackey does provide an out for the Pittsburgh front office. Should Cutch want to compete, then perhaps the Bucs could trade him. Ben Cherington could also trade McCutchen with it in mind to bring him back this offseason, since Cutch is on an expiring contract.

Rangers: A trade package for Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen

The bad news for Texas is that if they are to trade for Cutch, they’ll likely have to overpay. First, the package would need to be impressive enough to encourage Cherington to take on the PR disaster that is sure to follow. Second, McCutchen is in arguably his best season since his last stint in Pittsburgh.

Cutch is slashing .271/.394/.431 with a 127 OPS+. He’s been the most consistent player on the Pirates roster this season.

At this point in his career, Cutch is unlikely to land a similar trade package as he did when he was dealt to San Francisco a few years back. Nonetheless, Dustin Harris is a near-MLB level outfielder, and has been absolutely raking this season in the minors. He can play first base and corner outfield. MLB Pipeline has nothing but good things to say about the team’s No. 7 prospect:

"“Harris always had demonstrated advanced feel for the barrel and the strike zone, and the Rangers helped him make adjustments to drive the ball in the air more consistently. He does get overly aggressive about trying to pull and launch pitches at times, but he also shows the ability to self-correct. He makes a lot of hard contact from the left side of the plate and should hit for power and average.”"

Pittsburgh may insist the Rangers throw in a low-end pitching prospect, such as a Antoine Kelly (who is ranked 23rd in Texas’ system), but Harris is a decent starting point to get these two teams talking.

For now, though, it looks like any trade package is off the table.

Next. MLB Rumors: Cutch trade talk, Yanks-Cards buzz, Reds next prospect on the way. dark