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Nationals, Pirates ‘ramping up’ Andrew McCutchen trade talks

The sides could come to agreement on a deal by the end of the day.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds - Game One Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Pirates and Nationals have “ramped up” discussions on a trade that would send outfielder Andrew McCutchen to Washington, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Stark adds that Washington hopes to complete the deal by the end of the day.

Pittsburgh is targeting outfield prospect Victor Robles in talks with the Nats, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The Pirates are also said to be targeting young starting pitching, so Joe Ross and Reynaldo Lopez are likely on their wish list in addition to Robles.

Washington’s urgency to get a deal done today, according to Stark, is part of an effort that will lead to the club non-tendering Danny Espinosa on Friday. The addition of McCutchen would enable the Nats to move Trea Turner back to shortstop, making Espinosa an expendable candidate to be cut.

Pittsburgh is known to be aggressively shopping McCutchen as part of a partial rebuilding effort in a year in which they have already traded Francisco Liriano, Neil Walker and Mark Melancon. Washington was known to be an aggressive suitor for the outfielder, with the Mariners and Rangers among the other clubs who have shown interest.

Washington and Pittsburgh already matched on a deal once this year, as Melancon was sent to the nation’s capital before the non-waiver trade deadline for lefties Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn.

McCutchen, the face of the Pirates organization, is under control through the 2018 season, earning $14 million in 2017 before a $14.75 million club option (or $1 million buyout) kicks in for 2018.