Pirates infielder Josh Harrison is being discussed as a trade candidate with Pittsburgh seemingly getting ready for a youth movement this offseason, and the Mets, Blue Jays, and Yankees are among the clubs that have expressed interest in the two-time All-Star, as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Wednesday.
Harrison, 30, is coming off an All-Star season during which he posted a .272/.339/.432 slash line with a career-high 16 homers in 542 plate appearances. He served as the Pirates’ primary second baseman, starting 79 games at that position, but he also continued to display his exceptional versatility by starting 37 games at third base and six in left field. Harrison also has big-league experience at shortstop and in right field, so he’d be able to slot into most teams’ starting lineups — even those that are already set at second base. Harrison is due to earn $10.25 million in 2018 and has club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and 2020 ($11.5 million). Those options include a $1 million buyout for 2019 and a $500,000 buyout for 2020.
The Mets have a rather flexible infield right now, as shortstop Amed Rosario seems to be the only player locked into a position. Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores both seem likely to start as things stand now, but with Cabrera being able to play second, third, and shortstop and Flores capable of playing all four infield positions, New York has the flexibility to add an infielder at any position. Harrison could step in at either third or second, giving the Mets the flexibility to move Flores around the infield and platoon him with Dominic Smith at first base if necessary.
The Blue Jays have Devon Travis at second base, and the 26-year-old has been quite productive when healthy, posting a .792 OPS over three big-league seasons. He’s spent at least six weeks of each of those seasons on the disabled list, though, suffering season-ending injuries in 2015 and 2017. It’d make sense for Toronto to add a more durable player to handle second base, and Harrison would be the ultimate solution since he could move around and play other positions, allowing Travis to maintain some playing time at second.
The Yankees don’t have an obvious replacement for Starlin Castro at second base, though they’ve got an intriguing group of in-house options that includes Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, and Ronald Torreyes. Harrison could also be a potential solution at third base, though, if the Yankees don’t add a free agent there and determine that one of the aforementioned infielders or Miguel Andujar isn’t up to the task.