The fans in Pittsburgh watched Andrew McCutchen play his last game as a Pirate on tv Oct. 1. He went one-for-three, hitting a double off of Gio Gonzelez and left the game for a pinch-runner. The Pirates went on to win 11-8 over the playoff-bound Washington Nationals, notching their 75th and final victory of 2017.
Last night, the Pirates traded McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Kyle Crick and minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds.
The Giants, very much in win-now mode, will be interesting to watch. In addition to McCutchen, they added longtime Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria this offseason. I don’t remember the last time a team acquired two players who were so strongly identified with a different franchise in one winter. Neither is the star that they once were, but magical things seem to happen in San Francisco.
The Pirates are clearly hoping to build for the future. Crick gives them a potentially interesting reliever who’s ready to help at the big league level and Reynolds gives them a lottery ticket for 2020 or so. Given the lackluster return Pittsburgh got for two years of Gerrit Cole, this isn’t an awful package for one year McCutchen.
But it’s the end of an era that once showed such promise in Pittsburgh, and it’s sad that the team wasn’t able to do more when they had McCutchen than go to the playoffs three times and only advance to the Divisional Series once.
And more bad news for Pirates fans… team owner Bob Nutting says this cycle is going to keep happening until there’s a “fundamental redesign of the economics of baseball; that’s not what we’re going to have.”
But as frustrating as it’s gotta be, at least the Pirates have a plan and an owner willing to take some responsibility for the team’s moves. You can argue that Nutting should be willing to risk more of his own money or sell the team to someone who is, but he’s out there sharing his point of view with the media and the fans. (Contrast that with Mets ownership, where everyone is content to let GM Sandy Alderson take all the fallout from unpopular moves even though it’s unclear what financial resources he’s got to work with.)
In other news of interest:
Former Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays for $5 million. He is expected to be a platoon player in a corner outfield spot. I’d like to see him have a good year, and if Toronto can limit his exposure to left-handed pitching, they’re giving Granderson a good chance.
- The Washington Nationals re-signed utility man Howie Kendrick for two years and $7 million.
- Mets’ nemesis Yadier Molina says he plans to retire after his current contract with the St. Louis Cardinals expires in 2020. That’s hardly surprising, since I don’t see a ton of teams wanting to give a 37-year-old catcher another big contract even if he was the best backstop of his generation.
- Whether anyone besides MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wants it or not, we’re apparently going to get a pitch clock this season. Yay.