The Nationals and Pirates re continuing to discuss “a lot of different angles” that would result in outfielder Andrew McCutchen landing in D.C., according to ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (via Twitter). He notes that the information came from a source in the Pittsburgh organization.
There had been some suggestion that the Nats wanted to make a move on McCutchen before this evening’s non-tender deadline. The idea, it seems, was that the club would non-tender shortstop Danny Espinosa if it added McCutchen, which would free Trea Turner to move back into the infield.
As it turned out, nothing is yet done and Washington tendered Espinosa. That apparently isn’t posing much of an obstacle to continued exploration of a deal involving McCutchen. It’s worth bearing in mind that even tendered players aren’t guaranteed their full contracts until late in the spring. And Espinosa would likely be a plausible trade candidate if D.C. decided to part ways.
Regarding the fact that there are still many different scenarios at play, that’s perhaps not surprising. All indications are that the Bucs wish to obtain premium young talent in any trade involving McCutchen. We’ve heard top Nats prospect Victor Robles mentioned quite a bit, along with a variety of the club’s quality, youthful starting pitching. From the perspective of the Nationals, though, giving up even Robles seems like a big ask given McCutchen’s struggles in this past season. It seems possible that the organizations are working on ways to balance out the value — perhaps, even involving other teams — to facilitate a mutually agreeable swap, though it’s all guesswork at this point.