Pirates infielder Josh Harrison has released a statement to Ken Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic requesting to be traded from Pittsburgh.
Harrison’s statement comes a day after the Pirates dealt Andrew McCutchen to the Giants and three days following them trading Gerrit Cole to the Astros.
“Baseball is a business and I understand that trades are part of the business. While I love this game, the reality is that I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond,” Harrison said in the statement.
“My passion for Pittsburgh, what it has MEANT to me, what it MEANS to me, can never be questioned. I love this city, I love the fans, I love my teammates. Saying that, the GM is on record as saying, ‘When we get back to postseason-caliber baseball, we would love our fans to come back out.’ If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded. I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer.”
The 30-year-old Harrison is coming off an All-Star season during which he posted a .272/.339/.432 slash line with a career-high 16 home runs in 542 plate appearances. He served as the Pirates’ primary second baseman, starting 79 games at that position, but he also displayed 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.
Among the teams that have been interested in him are the Yankees, Mets, Brewers and Blue Jays, with the Yankees currently fitting the profile of a team that will contend in 2018 and beyond. The Yankees were one win why of playing in the World Series after losing to the Astros in the ALCS in seven games, but they added Giancarlo Stanton this offseason to their lineup.
Harrison also fits the Yankees’ priority of acquiring controllable talent without going over the luxury tax threshold. 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.