If you believe in the tooth fairy, then there’s a good chance New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson will be able to pry Andrew McCutchen from the schizophrenic Pittsburgh Pirates via a trade. But based on the Pirates recent history, there’s a better chance the Bucs only live to see their team name in print with rumor after rumor going to the wayside.
Joe Giglio of NJ Advanced Media acted on a tweet put out there by Ken Rosenthal that the Mets are once again engaged in talks about a trade for Pirates outfielder and long-time face of the team, Andrew McCutchen. At that point, warning bells should have gone off in and around Citi Field signaling this was, as Yogi Berra would say, deja vu all over again.
It was only last offseason that the Mets engaged in the same dance with the Pirates, only to have the substance of the deal if there was any, fall apart. The Mets were not the only team, not to mention McCutchen himself, who was victimized by the Pirates on again off again stance on trades. The Yankees, among others, also took a turn on the dance floor and it didn’t stop there.
Two weeks ago, the Pirates managed to lure both the Yankees and Mets into a dance with one team tapping the other on the shoulder for an audience with the Bucs regarding second baseman, Josh Harrison. Both teams are still looking for a second baseman.
But nothing highlights the Pirates’ dysfunction more than the Yankees’ entanglement with the team over Geritt Cole. At one point in the “discussions,” the Pirates even had the gall to ask for Gleyber Torres in return for the right-handed starter. Those talks, reportedly, are still ongoing and reach as far back as the trade deadline last season when Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, presumably threw up his hands in frustration with the Pirates and settled on Sonny Gray.
Neal Huntington, the GM of the Pirates, was given a four-year extension by the team last September. He is known for being knowledgeable and shrewd as a trade partner. Which is all well and good except when shrewdness translates into schizophrenia, whereby it begins to look like he wants to rob the other team before he pulls the trigger on a deal?
But it’s not only that. It’s more about the players involved in these discussions and rumors spread throughout the internet, talk radio, and newsprint. And in particular, it’s about Andrew McCutchen, who while he isn’t the player he once was, is still a human being and a man who has given his all to the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh since his major league debut in 2009.
Huntington has done nothing to stop the rumors about McCutchen, Cole, or Harrison. But his message to each player is clear. We don’t want you. Baseball is a business and everyone involved I’m sure understands that. But this is bad business on the part of the Pirates, if only from the standpoint of public relations.
So while the Mets should continue their pursuit of the 31-year old McCutchen, no one should get their hopes up they will crack through the barrier established by the Pirates and Huntington.
It’s a sad situation in Pittsburgh, and at some point, Joe Torre, or someone at MLB needs to send Huntington a quiet but firm message he isn’t doing anything that helps baseball right now.