There aren’t many big-name free agents in Major League Baseball this offseason, especially after Yoenis Cespedes re-signed with the New York Mets.
But teams looking for star power might find some on the trade market, most notably with Andrew McCutchen.
The Pittsburgh Pirates “continue to explore deals” involving their All-Star center fielder, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who notes McCutchen might be the prominent trade target “the most likely to go” this winter. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports also sees a McCutchen trade as very real possibility.
McCutchen had one of his worst seasons as a pro in 2016, hitting 24 home runs but batting just .256 with 79 RBIs and a .766 OPS, the lowest mark in his eight-year career. He turned 30 in October and is entering the final year of his contract, so it makes sense for Pittsburgh to deal him now.
The five-time All-Star should have plenty of suitors if that’s the case, and the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers might be at the top of the list. The Nationals “remain interested” in McCutchen, sources told Rosenthal, as acquiring him would allow them to move Trea Turner back to his natural shortstop position. The Rangers, meanwhile, are in the market for a center fielder and have enough prospects to put together a solid package for McCutchen.
There are a few quality free agent center fielders, most notably Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond and Carlos Gomez, but McCutchen could draw more interest than all three on the trade front if indeed the Pirates are ready to ship him.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images