Opinion: McCutchen jumping ship, how will he walk the Pirates’ plank?

Alex Henry – Staff Writer

‘Tis the season for the Major League Baseball hot stove, and the rumors are running rapid with the Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

McCutchen was drafted by the Pirates in the first round and was the 11th overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft.

He debuted during the 2009 season and since then has not only been a five time All Star, but four-time Silver Slugger, one time Golden Glove and the 2013 National League MVP, but he has also be the face of the franchise during its revitalization period of the course of the past five seasons.

Fox Sports baseball analyst Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Tuesday the Pirates trading McCutchen this offseason is “almost certain.”

McCutchen’s trade value, in my opinion, is drastically lower now than it has been since the 2011 season.

Coincidentally, 2016 was his worst year since then statistically, and now the Pirates are looking to trade him?

The logic from the Pirates front office will be that his value currently outweighs next offseason, since his contract runs through the 2018 season.

By trading him now, he’s limited to two years on his contract.

My main issue is with their philosophy.

Not only are they trading a bona fide superstar, but after he had a bad year.

Not to mention they once again will be trading in the hopes one of their top prospects will fill the role, this time being former first round pick Austin Meadows.

In relation to last offseason, the Pirates choose to not sign a solid veteran starting pitcher and planned on waiting until top prospects Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow joined the team in June, but by then the team had already suffered from poor pitching.

If McCutchen is traded, Meadows will not debut until the second week of June to avoid Super Two status.

Super Two is for players to get an increase of pay due to the amount of service time on the MLB roster.

Most teams, as a way to save money, prefer to avoid Super Two.

I do not believe the Pirates trading McCutchen is in the best interest of the team.

I understand the team doesn’t want to sign McCutchen to an extension with an average salary at or above 20 million per year, especially with him now in his 30s, but I believe the best course of action is to wait until either the trade deadline this upcoming season or next offseason.

We will see what the Pirates ultimately decide to do in regards to McCutchen, but the move itself has the ability to help the Pirates take the next step or set the team back for years.

All we can do is wait and see what the Pirates’ front office and General Manager Neal Huntington decide.

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