Andrew McCutchen’s NL Player Of The Month-winning performance in June ended over a year of frustration at the plate for the longtime Pirates star, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick writes. The hot streak also reinvigorated trade speculation about McCutchen’s future, and he reiterated to Crasnick that he wants to stay in Pittsburgh. Bucs GM Neal Huntington stated that the team isn’t shopping McCutchen but, thanks to the Pirates’ struggles in the standings and their payroll limitations, all options must be kept open:
“We anticipate Andrew continuing to be a Pirate until something changes — whether it’s through free agency or someone coming in [with an offer] that we believe can help this organization over the big picture,” Huntington said. “That’s the hard reality. We’ll listen on anybody. We have to. It doesn’t mean we’re looking to move him or actively engage. There’s active and passive engagement, and we’ll always be open for passive engagement if somebody wants to come to us.”
Here’s more from around the NL Central…
- Brewers GM David Stearns spoke to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters about his team’s deadline plans, largely reiterating his statement from May about the Brewers’ improved play not throwing off their overall long-term rebuilding strategy. While the club will “certainly explore every avenue” to improve the roster, Stearns implied that the Brew Crew will pursue controllable players over rentals st the trade deadline. “I never want to say never, but if there’s going to be an acquisition cost, it needs to be an acquisition that’s going to be here for more than one year. Players that have multiple years of control are naturally better fits,” Stearns said.
- Pitchers like Jose Quintana and Sonny Gray would fit as upgrades on multi-year contracts, though Stearns downplayed reports of the Brewers’ interest in the two hurlers. “I think this time of year, we along with all 29 other teams, do background work on a number of different players. That’s natural. It’s league-wide and across the board,” Stearns said.
- Talks between the Reds and second overall draft pick Hunter Greene came right down to the wire yesterday, as president of baseball ops Dick Williams tells Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer and other reporters. Both sides expressed worry that a deal couldn’t be reached before Friday’s 5pm deadline, and it was apparently a matter of seconds before a final agreement was reached, Williams said. There was pressure in both camps, as Greene faced either a year in limbo or three years away from re-entering the draft if he chose to attend UCLA, while the Reds didn’t want to face the stiff penalties that would’ve been imposed on them for exceeding their draft bonus pool. In the end, Greene signed for a record-setting $7.23MM bonus.