Teams have gotten pretty good about handling trade rumors. The teams themselves don’t operate any differently, but whenever any big name is discussed, you just about always hear the team isn’t shopping him. Rather, the front office will frequently indicate it’s open to anything. “Listening to offers,” as if there’s any other way. Big names still get traded as often as ever, but teams try to reduce anxiety in the meantime. They don’t want people stressing out until or unless there’s something worth stressing over.
The Andrew McCutchen offers have taken on a different feel. At first, it felt like, all right, maybe the Pirates would be open to trading him. But Wednesday, reports emerged that the Pirates are the ones being aggressive. I don’t know if that’s coming from the Pirates organization or somewhere(s) else, but this is pretty unusual. Pair that with the news that Austin Meadows will be playing an outfield corner and you definitely get the sense McCutchen’s days with the Pirates are numbered.
As Ken Rosenthal and others have written, it looks more likely than ever that McCutchen’s going to be dealt. If it happens, it would hardly be a shock to see it happen before the end of next week’s winter meetings. McCutchen is still to be considered a premium outfielder, so any number of teams would love to pick him up. After examining the landscape, though, I don’t see a better fit than the Nationals.
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