By Jared Lankes
The Pirates were reportedly very close to dealing Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals for Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning, and a third piece. The Nationals eventually gave up those two as well as Reynaldo Lopez for Adam Eaton from the White Sox instead. Now the Pirates expect to keep McCutchen and possibly move him to a corner outfield spot.
Now we can all exhale knowing that McCutchen will likely go to Bradenton with the Pirates and be penciled into that Opening Day lineup. The team’s franchise guy is still around. But now that the McCutchen saga is past, we can look towards the future and what this means for Pirates in 2017.
A McCutchen trade would have at least signaled a reload for the Pittsburgh Pirates. A restocking but not totally starting over. But instead, McCutchen not being dealt is a strong indicator that the team can now look to build up a competitive roster for 2017 around a core that includes the former MVP.
There appeared to be a hold up of all of the Pirates offseason plans until McCutchen saga was solved. And it’s obvious why because the difference in directions between trading him and not trading him is immense. I fully expect now the Pirates will feel relief and continue on with all the other offseason plans they have waiting for them.
I believe the direction has now been clearly set. The Pirates will add to this core and set sail for the 2017 season as they look to compete in a very tough National League to navigate through. However, we now know captain McCutchen will still be steering the ship through whatever dangers await them.