Early Tuesday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that Chris Sale was being traded to the Boston Red Sox for a package of prospects, including baseball’s best, Yoan Moncada.
This came as a shock to most, because late Monday night, it seemed that Sale being traded to Washington for Lucas Giolito, Victor Robles, and more was all but done. Now, with Sale off the board, the Nationals have placed their focus on getting former MVP Andrew McCutchen.
The 30-year-old had a down year in 2016, hitting .256/.336/.430 with 24 homers and 79 RBI and was barely league average, with a 103 OPS+. Prior to last year, though, he had been a star. He is a five time All Star, a perennial .300 hitter, and led the National League in OBP and OPS in 2014. And, oh, yeah, won the 2013 NL MVP.
McCutchen’s price is at an all-time low, because of his seemingly steep decline the past two years. However, he is still one of the stars of the league, so he will come at a big price.
Trea Turner, who finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2016, seems to be untouchable. Trading for McCutchen would allow the Nationals to stick Turner back to his natural infield position. Giolito and Robles, who were the headliners in the supposed Sale trade, would most likely be the starting points for trade talks.
Giolito would add to Pittsburgh’s already exciting young pitching staff that includes Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Tyler Glasnow. Robles adds a good young outfielder who is still a couple years away.
The Pirates seem set on trading away McCutchen, who is owed $14 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2018 before hitting free agency in 2019. There are multiple teams interested in McCutchen, including the Dodgers, so it’s almost a guarantee that he will not be wearing a Pirates uniform come Opening Day 2017.