McCutchen on the Move

The Andrew McCutchen situation hasn’t changed from 10-14 days ago.

The Pirates are trading him and the return is going to be more of a prospect-type return.

The question now is just whether the deal happens before the Winter Meetings next week.

Odds are it will.

Word out of the Pirates organization is the Pirates have relayed [hide] the message to interested teams they are prepared to do a deal this week before the Winter Meetings and get a jump on things.

More speculation is pointing to the Nationals being the front runner to land McCutchen.

From ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

[“The Pirates and Nationals have ramped up discussions about a trade that would send Andrew McCutchen to Washington, according to sources who have spoken with both teams. The Nationals, according to one exec, would like to make this deal today, because the ripple effect of trading for McCutchen would likely be a move to nontender shortstop Danny Espinosa before tomorrow’s tender date. The Nationals have been looking for a center fielder. So if they can trade for McCutchen, he would play center, which would bounce Trea Turner to short and leave no spot for Espinosa. The Pirates are looking for controllable starting pitching. So names like Joe Ross and Reynaldo Lopez would fit that shopping list.]

The Pirates have amped up their effort to move McCutchen in the past 48 hours since Yoenis Cespedes signed and took the Mets out of the mix for McCutchen.

The Pirates, though, haven’t just been targeting teams in trade talks that were also pursuing Cespedes and have looked at McCutchen as a plan B. Pittsburgh offered McCutchen to rebuilding teams with deep farm systems too, the Atlanta Braves one of the teams but a deal has been complicated because of the Braves desire for the Pirates to take outfielder Nick Markakis in return, per a source.

More Buzz

— Anyone with a big salary, the Pirates are willing to move. However, what’s been an interesting dynamic is Pirate manager Clint Hurdle has had no issue with the Pirates desire to trade Andrew McCutchen but is said to be furious with the Pirates dangling Josh Harrison in trade talks in a reported attempt to move his salary.

Harrison is viewed by the staff as the heart and soul of the club.

— The Pirates have been trying to include Antonio Bastardo in any McCutchen deal to dump his salary, per sources. [/hide]