In an interview with Bob Nightengale of the USAToday , Andrew McCutchen voiced his displeasure with how he was dangled about by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cutch voiced his frustration and although he is not completely disgruntled, he seems far from happy. I think it is time for Andrew and the fans to look at this situation from a realistic standpoint.
First off, It’s important to not forget, this is a business and unfortunately in a small market, there are few players that play an entire career in one city. Let’s be honest, on wealthier larger market teams, most players don’t play an entire career there either. Here is what Andrew had to say in the USAToday article.
“It hurts. Of course it hurts,” McCutchen told USA TODAY Sports. “It stings. I’m not to the point of being upset and mad about it, but I’m not smiling about it. And I’m not walking around saying everything’s great, either.
“But what can I do? I’m not the GM. I’m not the manager. I’m not the owner. I’m just a baseball player.
“When they make a decision, and it’s final, I have to agree with that.
“What choice do I have?”
Before going forward, it is worth noting that If Andrew was healthy and did not start out so poorly last season and finish with a down year, we may not be in this position. Andrew played most of the first three months of last season batting below .240 with very little run production. He’s a step or two slower in the outfield now and the bat swing is slower. Was he injured and if so, how bad? True and accurate answers to those questions may never come. What we do know, his production dropped off dramatically.
I do not want to hear about his mid .250’s average with 24 home runs and 74 RBI”s from last year. When the Pirates were competing and still in the race, he was not producing and that is when they needed him most. When the team fell out of contention is when Andrew’s game started to return CLOSER to form. Although he struck out at an extremely alarming rate. That actually has carried over a bit so far in spring training.
There is also talk about the number of scouts that are following the US team watching his production in this WBC tournament. Clear indication that he is still on the trading block. So, what are the Pirates to do with Cutch going forward? Simple. Trade him for pitching when they can.
They have players coming up that are ready to make the jump that all play the outfield. There just is no scenario that I can see that the Pirates would keep Cutch and trade the likes of Marte, Polanco, and soon to be star Austin Meadows. The Pirates right now have an embarrassment of riches in the outfield and can trade someone out there to boost the pitching staff. So you ask, Why Cutch?
Andrew is more than outspoken about how he wants to finish his career here in Pittsburgh and wants to play his entire career here. The Pirates are not a team that can afford to give Superstar salaries to players not in their prime. Cutch is starting the descent whether he wants to admit it or not. The Pirates have both Marte and Polanco into the 2020’s and Meadows would be even later than that.
Some would say, why not add pitching and keep Cutch. Trade one of the other guys. My thought is this. Why would you ever trade players that are still on the way up and keep the guy on the way down. For Those fans who are asking those questions, I would like to pose the same back to them. How about take your best rising stock in your 401k plan and get rid of it. Then keep the stock that is slowing up and not performing as it should. Sound like a good business move? Nope, not at all.
This is not personal. It’s business and the players need to embrace that as best they can. Andrew will be loved no matter where he ends up. And the Pirates need to do everything they can do to compete with the Cubs and Cardinals. Both teams have great pitching staffs and if the Pirates are going to keep up, they need to conjure up One of their own great pitching staffs. So when you have a talent Glut At any position, it is smart to deal in what they have a surplus in.
Now all they need is a trade partner. If you liked this, follow me @SportsMongerPGH on Twitter.