In an update on the market for Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that a “handful” of organizations have at least reached out to gauge the asking price. Indeed, there’s some indication that he’s the Bucs’ most heavily pursued trade candidate.
Among the teams to have reached out are the Yankees, Mets, and Blue Jays. The Yanks were tied recently, albeit somewhat speculatively, to Harrison in relation to a potentially larger move involving Gerrit Cole. Interest from the latter two was reported a few weeks back (see here and here), though it’s notable to hear they’re still in pursuit.
Though further pursuers haven’t yet been identified, it isn’t difficult to imagine quite a few other clubs having interest. Harrison, after all, can play all over the diamond and would fit quite comfortably on a number of rosters.
His contract rights are also rather appealing. The 30-year-old will earn a reasonable $10MM in 2018 and can be controlled by successive club options. At $10.5MM and $11.5MM apiece, they won’t exactly come at a bargain rate, but the flexibility is plenty desirable in its own right.
Harrison likely won’t replicate his excellent 2014 campaign, but was plenty productive in 2017. He ended the year with a solid .272/.339/.432 batting line and career-best 16 home runs to go with a dozen steals. As usual, Harrison rated as a quality defender and baserunner, making him an approximately 3-WAR player despite only carrying league-average production at the plate.
At this point, it does not seem that any team has emerged as a clear favorite to acquire Harrison — or even that the Pirates are more likely than not to move him. While the organization could fill in from within should it deal Harrison, there’s also little question that he improves the team’s outlook for 2018. Just how inclined the Pirates will be to move him may hinge on whether they end up dealing Cole and/or long-time franchise face Andrew McCutchen.