The Pirates are reportedly unlikely to trade center fielder Andrew McCutchen, whom they heavily shopped at last month’s Winter Meetings, but teams are still trying to acquire him, a major league source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Toronto is the latest reported team to show interest in McCutchen, whom the Bucs are only willing to deal if they receive major league-ready talent in return. The 30-year-old is coming off the worst season of his career, having gone backward at the plate, in the field and on the base paths, but he still carries a resoundingly successful track record and an affordable contract (two years, $28.5MM, including a $14.5MM club option for 2018). Considering those factors, it’s not surprising that teams continue to pursue the longtime face of the Pittsburgh franchise.
More inside info from Cafardo:
- Free agent second baseman/third baseman Aaron Hill is on the radar of a few teams, and Atlanta and Kansas City could be among them, per Cafardo. Hill, 34, spent last season between Milwaukee and Boston, with which he combined to hit .262/.336/.378 with 10 home runs in 429 plate appearances. It’s debatable whether Hill would fit in Atlanta, which already seems to have a capable second base platoon on hand with Jace Peterson and Sean Rodriguez, not to mention a third baseman with a similar offensive profile to Hill in Adonis Garcia. Both Hill and Garcia have hit southpaw pitchers better than right-handers in their careers, so it might behoove Atlanta to instead find a lefty-swinging complement to Garcia. KC, meanwhile, already has multiple third base options – Mike Moustakas and Cheslor Cuthbert – and a few second base candidates in Whit Merrifield, Raul Mondesi, Christian Colon and Cuthbert.
- Speaking of the Braves and Royals, they are interested in free agent third baseman/first baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has been available since the Twins outrighted him in November. Boston and Oakland are also in on the 30-year-old Plouffe, a steady contributor from 2014-15 who batted an underwhelming .260/.303/.420 with 12 homers in 344 PAs last season. Like Hill, Plouffe has had more success versus lefties (.268/.344/.465) than righties (.239/.294/.403) during his career.
- To finish off a Royals-heavy set of notes, it’s still possible they’ll trade one of Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer or outfielder Lorenzo Cain – all contract-year players – before the season, per Cafardo. A willingness to deal Moustakas or Hosmer, particularly the former, would somewhat explain Kansas City’s interest in Hill and Plouffe. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal previouly reported that Hosmer is unlikely to go anywhere prior to the season, though, and KC already subtracted a key outfielder Friday when it shipped Jarrod Dyson to Seattle. Speculatively, that could impact whether the Royals would also part with Cain, who’s due $11MM next season.