In the wake of the recent trades that shipped Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole out of Pittsburgh, speculation has turned to the status of veteran Josh Harrison — another player that has long been mentioned as a candidate to be dealt. The veteran utilityman issued his thoughts on the matter today to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
After discussing his affinity for the team, city, and fans — as well as for the departing players — Harrison laid down a challenge of sorts to the Pirates front office. While he framed it as an expression of what might be “best for the organization,” Harrison seemingly conveyed a clear interest in being dealt if the club is not serious about putting a winner on the field. The full comments are available at the above link, but this seems to be the key passage:
[T]he GM is on record as saying, ‘When we get back to postseason-caliber baseball, we would love our fans to come back out.’ If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded.
Of course, just what “expect to contend” might really mean is open to some interpretation. The organization’s top leadership emphasized in the wake of the trades that it still sees the roster as a possible contender. While those comments are themselves worthy of skepticism, there’s room for debate as to just how the Cutch/Cole swaps will impact the team on the field — and time left for further developments to impact the overall picture. What the trades clearly do not portend, in and of themselves, is a full-blown rebuild; both players, after all, were within a year or two or free agency and the deals returned mostly MLB-level talent.
Interestingly, at least one of the players received, infielder Colin Moran, could help the team cover in the infield if it decides to send Harrison elsewhere. Talks involving the versatile, well-rounded performer have been ongoing over the winter, so a trade wouldn’t be surprising, regardless of the comments he issued today. The Pittsburgh front office no doubt anticipated some disappointment from its remaining veterans — not to mention a more vehement push-back from the fanbase and media — when it moved these core players.
That said, the Bucs likely don’t face a clear financial imperative to make a move, so far as is publicly known. The team currently has less than $85MM on its books for 2018 after moving most of the relatively significant salaries of McCutchen and Cole. Having opened the last two seasons within sight of $100MM in payroll obligations, there’s some breathing room to work with even with Harrison on the roster. He’s owed $10MM for the coming season and can then be controlled with successive club options ($10.5MM and $11.5MM, with a total of $1.5MM in buyouts).
Of course, that assessment of the money situation assumes the club is not preparing to draw down its outlay. In truth, that’s not really clear yet. Cashing in players who are getting older, more expensive, and closer to free agency is a longstanding ritual for smaller-market teams that otherwise would struggle to remain competitive without suffering through lengthy rebuilding stretches. But there are several ways to go while remaining mindful of the need to always keep the future in mind.
Just what the Bucs have in mind currently — a period of salary retrenchment and roster reloading? at least some reinvestment of free payroll on other assets? etc. — is still not entirely know. In a way, how they proceed with Harrison may be the evidence we need to understand the very intentions and expectations that his comment references.
Yankees *cough cough*
Yankees won’t trade for him if they are still trying to add an expensive SP
The Pirates will ask for Torres and then end up dealing Harrison for international bonus pool money
I’m assuming this is sarcasm.. this is the best time for the Pirates to move Harrison. Coming off an all star year (shouldn’t have been an AS but still) and has a few more years of control if a team wants it. I think he will bring back a solid prospect along with an average one
You forgot to add after bonus pool money, “which they won’t use.”
Yes, because the Pirates have spun great trades recently to make you think they will get two prospects for Harrison.
How is that yankee fans weasel their way into threads that have zero to do with that tired run down team of theirs.
We have a few thousand rabid yankee fans who think baseball begins and ends with their tired old team, and that’s all any and every baseball fan wants to hear about.
It seems that some yankee fan will inevitably opine on how this rumor or that rumor somehow affects the Yankees. WE DON’T CARE!
Nobody cares about the Yankees for chrine out loud
Yet you care enough to write a whole paragraph about them. And what “tired old team”? This isn’t 2013 anymore.
Sorry. Yankees don’t need everyone. Be happy with what u have
This is exactly the type of player the Yankees need!
Yankees fans are happy. Just happier if the Yankees can get Harrison AND dump Ellsbury’s salary.
Huntington tried so hard to limit the damage control with the fans that he p*ssed his players off. Harrison should be traded anyway, but Huntington should keep his mouth shut.
Who is Josh Harrison??? He should be benched for this crap. What team would want a nobody player who takes his grievances to the media. Instead he should take his grievances to the bench. He’s lucky he’s not sent down to AAA for the season for this nonsense.
He is an All-Star player for a club that just shipped out it’s ace and the face of it’s franchise.
He went to the All-Star Game because the rules require that every team have somebody in the game. He is a slightly better than average major leaguer who will make $10 million this year.
Don’t watch many pirates games do you? Clueless
Still a solid player who has good defense, speed, and contact. He’s also shown he isn’t weak when it comes to power.
If memory serves me, that was the year that multiple pirates went to the ASG, and Hurdle was an assistant coach on that team which is why he made it. He was a coaches pick.
You’re an idiot! Shut up you clueless moron.
Is this Josh Harrison speaking or his mommy. Because if it’s neither of those, your comment is just sad!
As a Brewer supporter, I truly feel your pain. Our division is very much 2 tiered, with the rich Cubs and Cardinals, and then our small market teams plus the Reds. That being said, Harrrison has every right to speak his piece. Harrison wants the Pirates to compete, and is frustrated to see cornerstone players leave. Inadvertantly he has again brought to the forefront, the inequities of the elite teams in comparison to the small market teams. Small market teams have very small windows to contend, and eventually the teams have to decide to dismantle and retool. Note the Royals, losing Cain,Moustakas and Hosmer in 1 yr.
What’s will all these players thinking they can leave when a team starts doing bad. It’s a business.
I agree. There’s a sense of entitlement ringing through I think professional sports in general about this kind of topic.
What’s with these MLB teams thinking they can “draft” a player and completely control his career for years just because they have agreed among themselves not to compete with each other in this area?
Why do MLB teams feel entitled to artificially restrain the price paid for the services of young players, what do they have against capitalism and the free market?
It’s a fair question. The cost controlled years of players are used by teams to limit and retain talent. Though who’s to say it is fair that a mlb team that’s willing to pay you more doesn’t get that right because of draft rights?
(I actually have no opinion, this is just to spur conversation)
Then you would look at super duper teams and basically minor league teams in the MLB. I think the MLB is a different animal than NFL or NBA. Players aren’t ready to play day 1 after draft day. It’s like they were studying for a algebra test and have take a calculus test instead. They use thats why they have option years. thats why they have pre-arb years. It’s all a buffer. That being said – if you’re really talented (ex. Bryce Harper, Mike Trout) I don’t think you have to worry. But if you are a mediocre MLB player during a pre-arb year, I don’t think anyone will hate making half a million to struggle at that level.
“Uhh . . . What?”
Question: Would young players receive larger or smaller bonuses if they could offer their services to all teams rather than being limited to the one team which “drafts” them? The answer to that one should be obvious. So, why should MLB teams be able to decide among themselves which player’s negotiating rights belong to which team? How is that at all fair to the players?
No it’s actually not a fair question. Bring it up with the players union, who agreed to this system in exchange for guaranteed league minimum salary and a slew of other concessions. No need for long term control if we sign bad players for $50k per year right?
I mean, this guy got paid $550k before he was even any good in exchange for control. He literally needs to shut up and do his job
Because absent some semblance of parity, the l ague would cease to exist.
He actually only got 550k once the Pirates decided he was good enough to play in the MLB. Prior to that they can make quite a bit less. Minimum salary in triple A is like $2150 a month (for a 5 month season).
“ . . . this guy got paid $550k before he was even any good . . . “
How much would he have been paid had he been able to offer his services to all thirty teams? We’ll never know, of course, but the current system has almost certainly cost him some money over the years. It’s the sort of thing that won’t matter to a Stanton, Pujols, Cabrera, etc. as they more than made up for any earlier “losses”. But a player like JH is unlikely to ever sign for (relatively) big bucks, he may never make back what he lost by only being able to negotiate with one team.
“He literally needs to shut up and do his job.”
Well, he doesn’t literally need that as I’m pretty sure he can survive without. But, why is it OK for Pirates ownership/management to do what they believe best for themselves by trading away most of their stars but this player should stfu about what’s best for him?
“Players aren’t ready to play day 1 after draft day.”
By “play” I assume you mean MLB quality baseball, and that is almost always correct. But ask yourself whether the amateur draft benefits the owners or the players and then ask why that should be so.
“ . . . that’s why they have option years. that’s why they have pre-arb years.”
No, that’s why they have MiLB. You are confusing the issue of development with control. A player who isn’t ready for MLB can develop his talents in the minors while taking advantage of a free market. How many players are capable/ready to be promoted but blocked by another, similar player in the organization? This, presumably, would happen less frequently if players could negotiate with all teams.
“ . . . if you are a mediocre MLB player during a pre-arb year, I don’t think anyone will hate making half a million to struggle at that level.”
That’s not the point. Of course they are—or should be—capable of living quite comfortably on a half mill a year. And while they are blessing their good fortune, MLB owner are blessing their even greater fortune. Owners are happy to suck up the residual value players leave on the table.
Padres Armchair GM
Would younger players receive smaller or larger bonuses if they could offer their services to all teams?
Actually, the answer would be smaller.
Why? Because the mlb would put a limit on how much a team can spend on young players much like the NFL did because a young player making as much as a vet or more was ridiculous. Thus, capping teams spending would make the great prospects earn more while majority of lesser prospects earn a lot less.
So while 1st round talents would earn more from bidding wars….5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th and so on would make less because there isnt enough money due to bidding wars for higher end talent and teams arent going to overpay for lesser talent, assuming all this counts against their cap.
“Because the mlb would put a limit on how much teams can spend on young players . . . “
That sounds like an anti-trust violation. Not sure mlb wants to test its antitrust immunity just now.
“5th 6th . . . and so on would make less because there isn’t enough money due to bidding wars . . . “
Nonsense, teams have plenty of money. They just don’t believe in sharing more than absolutely necessary.
Padres Armchair GM
Lol you just tossing in words trying to sound smart?
A league telling teams hey, you have 20 mill to spend on prospects spend it how you want is in no way shape or form an anti trust violation. Same way they do IFA spending. You get x amount of money you can trade it, spend it. Same way salary caps are not anti trust violation in any league lol.
Teams have more then enough money? Lol theres a luxury tax line in place. Do you not understand how it works?
If the league minimum were such a barrier, why are teams giving lesser talents then 25 man roster spots? It’s asset retention. The cubs keep Bryant in the minors for 2 weeks to keep him even though he’s clearly ready. The padres play terrible rule V players in order to keep them. Mike trout earns the league minimum the season after he puts up a ROY campaign and finishes 2nd in MVP.
“Lol you just tossing in words trying to sound smart? “
Nope, just thinking like a lawyer.
“Same way salary caps are not an anti trust violation . . . “
Um, salary caps aren’t conditions imposed on the players by the owners but rather are agreed to by both the owners and the players association after engaging in collective bargaining. Not the case with the amateur draft as nobody represents the amateurs. That’s why salary caps aren’t an anti trust issue. Got it?
“A league telling teams hey, you have 20 million to spend on prospects spend it how you want is in no way shape or form an anti trust violation.”
Got a citation to support that conclusion, Counselor? Or are you expecting that your word will be sufficient? You just issued a legal opinion, your honor. Back it up.
Padres Armchair GM
Yeah the mlb and players union would definitely have problem agreeing to a salary cap for younger players…….said no one ever LOL. If young players were made FA the MLB would make them part of the players union much like they already are and proven MLB players would support a “rookie” limit on spending just like most leagues have now. The rookie wage scale would be an agreement pushed not by the MLB but by the players who’ve hit FA and would be affected by teams spending money on young kids instead of on them. Literally why the NFL implemented their rookie wage scale cause players hated making less cause rookies contracts counted against the cap and hurt their profits. They may haggle over the exact amount teams would be able to spend, but end of the day if teams could bid on prospects
1. It would be handled like the IFA slots are handled…..which IFA spending isnt an anti trust violation proving your need for legal precedent moot since the MLB already bids on prospects during IFA time and if you go over spending you get hit with consequences. Literally already told you this. IFA spending is the mlb telling teams you have x amount spend it how you want. If teams go over maybe theyre banned for a year from signing or limit to x amount of money or x amount per contract who knows.
2. It would count against the luxury tax line much like signing any FA would since these would be essentially free agents competing against other FA on the open market.
“It would be handled like IFA slots are handled.”
Once again you’re completely missing the point. International free agents, just like unsigned amateurs and minor leaguers, are not represented by the MLBPA. Hence antitrust issues.
Last comment, I asked you to produce any citations which support the legal opinion you offered and….. silence. Usually that means you don’t have any cites and were just pulling your legal opinion out of your butt. That sorta thing isn’t going away in the wash.
“If young players were made FA the MLB would make them part of the player’s union . . . “
It’s not up to MLB to “make” them anything, both the union and the unrepresented players have to agree. Spend a little time with the NLRA before offering your legal opinions about what MLB can and cannot do. The union doesn’t represent the young, pre-MLB players and therefore can’t bargain on their behalf.
“The rookie wage scale would be an agreement pushed not by MLB but by the players who’ve hit FA and would be affected by teams spending money on young kids instead of them.”
Once again what you are envisioning is in no way realistic. Simple question, are there more players in MLB who have reached FA status or are there more players who are pre-FA? Right, so how are the FAs gonna outvote the unwashed masses of pre-FA players?
Even if there were no legal issue, you are assuming that you can create class warfare between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have much mores’ among the players, that the post FA players will control the younger, pre FA players for you. The past fifty five years of MLB history should convince you otherwise. If you wanna argue with me—fine. But please bring some actual facts and don’t pretend to have expertise you really don’t have.
Padres Armchair GM
Of all sports baseball has the best capitalist market for young players drafted.
NFL use to before they made the change to a rookie pay scale.
MLB has slot values assigned but prospects can negotiate higher and above slot deals….which is why the mlb allows teams to spend a % more than their total allotment……literally the padres had an agreement in place with jason groome had he fallen to their pick at $5mill which was about 3 mill higher than the slot value. Reggie Lawson and Mason Thompson signed for nearly double their slot value.
Also, just because youre drafted doesnt mean you must sign or never allowed in the league….players routinely forgo being drafted to re enter in coming years looking to up their draft stock and value…..
Yikes. Your analogy was poorly chosen and poorly informed. Major flaw in your argument.
The dichotomy of which you speak, will continue as long as there is a luxury tax as opposed to a true salary cap. The luxury tax really doesn’t look deter the larger market teams, at the expense of the smaller markets
Hamilton for Castro. That’ll teach ’em!
What does that have to do with this article? Did you even read it?
Whose to say they don’t compete for a wc spot.
Jameson and Nova were good at times last season khaul and Willias looked good for rookies the pen could be very good. Musgrove or glassnow takes over 5th spot.
Bell should be better maybe Polanco stays healthy and Marte is here not suspended PED. Jhay would be LF or Frazier and he would be 2nd
Like most of your post, it doesn’t “spell” Wild Card with that lineup. Rockies and Diamondbacks are still better than that. And the pirates are playing the cardinals and the cubs quite a few times this season, also a pretty decent Brewers squad.
I don’t think they’ll win a wild card spot, but they could stay in the hunt into September.
I can only find a few spots in the lineup, rotation or bullpen where they might get less than out of that spot than last year and many where they should be better.
Can Musgrove be better than Cole’s worst season? Good chance.
Can Moran be better than David Freese as a starter? Good chance.
Will Bell and Frazier be better with a year of MLB experience? Good chance.
Will Taillon, Kuhl and Williams progress with more experience? Good chance.
Will Polanco be better and healthier? Probably.
Will Marte be better in CF than Cutch? Yes.
Will they get more out of the LF spot than they got last year? Hard not to.
Will Cervelli stay healthy or will Diaz be good when he’s not? No and looks promising.
The biggest question mark is Nova, actually. After that, they still never replaced Watson with a lefty.
Things happen (you know…injuries, PED suspensions, drunk driving and VISA issues, etc.) so you can’t say with certainty but I’d be surprised if their record was worse than last year.
So, while they won’t be very good, I don’t see the “step back” most talk about happening.
This is a 72-75 win team, don’t kid yourself. The Padres, Reds, Marlins and Phillies and possibly the Braves are worse on paper in the NL. That’s it.
And that what we’re doing here, playing the paper game. Because if you’re making the best possible case for this team with your predictions, then someone can counter with the worst possible scenario at a 65-win team.
You take the median (competing for 2nd WC vs. all things go wrong) and you come out with the reasonable prediction of 72-75 wins.
I’d rather see Polanco marte osuna in the OF left to right
Whoever comes up with a way to add a team chemistry variable in the win/loss predictive models is going to be a very rich human being. In my opinion – when a team outplays their projected win total, it has a lot to do with team chemistry.
In my opinion team chemistry is the biggest load of BS in sports. It’s just something to give MLB Network and espn something to talk about. Most of the time they can’t point to anything, they just regurgitate the same old thing. “He’s a veteran — a clubhouse leader.” If a team is doing good, oh the team chemistry is amazing they have so many leaders (I always read that in Pina’s voice), if a team is losing they don’t talk about it or say they need a washed up team to show the young guys how to be professionals.
To each his own though, many people have the same mindset you do. Neither of us have anything tangible to point at other than I can say that the “veteran leader” usually has an OPS under .700 and shouldn’t be on the field.
When a team has a lot more chemistry, they play happier, and enjoy playing. A team’s attitude can really make a difference.
Chicken or the egg…
Winning creates “chemistry” or “chemistry” causes the team to win.
I say winning makes you happy…
I like Josh, good player and good person, I’ll be sad to see him go unlike the other two, but these comments are unprofessional, just like Yelich and Realmuto.
There are 2430 MLB games a year. Teams will go 1215-1215. The wins will NOT be distributed evenly. Someone has to play on the losing teams, too. That’s why you get paid.
At the very least, those comments hurt the Pirates trade leverage. Though everyone can see the return they got for better talent.
Ah, Cole and McCutchen both had much better player histories but over the course of the last 2 years, the level of play among those 3 are more even than they used to be. Teams are offering for what a player is now and not for what they used to be. Harrison cshould fetch something close to what the Bucs got for Cutch.
Would be a nice add for the Braves who could use him like a higher end Camargo in a variety of spots, but most notably at 3B. Deal a 20-30 rank prospect and a low-A ball guy for Harrison and $ to offset some salary like in the Cutch deal. Keeps them under payroll, doesn’t cost top talent, fills a need, and offers future flexibility.
They’ll get more for Harrison than Cutch, who returned a MLB reliever and the Giants #4 prospect.
Is he a difference maker? I am pretty sure he had one great season and has been at 100 OPS+ or lower the last 3 years.
Harrison would fit well on just about any team needing a backup at 2B and 3B especially if either of the two regulars at those positions are lefties.
He’s a good supporting player who has a few years of team control. He’s also one of the best utility players in baseball. Chances are they’d get a better package for Harrison than what they got for McCutchen but not quite as good as Cole.
In the weird stats department, Harrison was #2 in the NL in being hit by pitches (23) last year, second only to Anthony Rizzo (24, and with far more PAs). Stranger yet, Harrison’s HBP was never higher than 7 in any previous season.
Racial tensions are getting high in the MLB.
He moved closer to the plate and the place to pitch him was low and in. Mistakes were made
Go info, thanks. Figured it had to be for a reason.
Perfect fit for the Yankees. Also makes sense on the Dodgers.
I agree he would be good to the Yankees. Wonder what a legit return could be if its possible
I would think one of their top 20 prospects and maybe another unranked prospect or two. I would have to assume that the Yankees would take on most, if not all of Harrison’s contract. The Yanks have all the leverage here tbh. They can bring back Frazier or stick with what they have in-house.
Apparently, they are willing to deal minor league pitching from what I’ve read. But I feel like we don’t need more pitching in deals at the moment. We need hitters that aren’t necessarily outfielders but could be if they prove to be worth it(like a C Frazier although that won’t happen)
Fits the Mets more than either of those teams
Then what would be your prediction of the deal?
Maybe Yankees take Harrison and Nova and trade Adams/Frazier and a couple other prospects. Takes care of their rotation depth and doesn’t force Torres and Andujar into starting roles.
Would love to have Frazier as the Left Fielder but we pretty much blew our chances of acquiring him I’m afraid.
I honestly don’t understand why he feels the need to make these comments. Everyone knew the Pirates were not going to resign McCutchen at the end of the year so it’s better to get multiple players back and salary relief instead of paying him 14.5 mil and receiving a draft pick outside the first round for him. Also, we have a better in house option in Marte to man center with a highly touted OF prospect (Meadows) near MLB readiness. Cole was not our top pitcher, yes he was an important piece but he is not our ace. Pirates fans need to actually think for themselves rather than letting the Pittsburgh talking heads do it for them.
Baseball needs a salary cap. And the Pirates need a new owner.
A salary cap doesnt make the Pirates spend more money
No, but any cap system would likely have a salary floor as well—similar to the NHL and NFL. So they’d have to spend some money and the margin between the highest and lowest payrolls would be significantly smaller than it is today.
bucsfan speaks the truth and gets a down vote? Smh……that is how the salary cap works.
If MLB had a cap, there would also be a floor so no new ownership would be needed. Wish there was a cap and the Bucs could compete like,the Pens do. The went bankrupt several times and would ha e left town without a cap.
Every name that comes up lately someone says Yankees it seems. Lol
I heard they are going to be allowed to expand their roster to 50 players. Because, you know.
Either that or they’ll split into 2 Major League teams: Yankees & Yankees 2.0
But then they don’t expect the Yankees to have to give up anything of value either.
They don’t need too. The Pirates are having Crazy Eddie Deals and giving it all away.
I hope they trade him to the Marlins.
You don’t decide. You suit up who you play for. sorry if that’s not good enough for you.
I have no problem with his comments. He was going to be asked over and over what he thought of trades and upcoming season. So he pre-empted with a statement.
Josh Harrison is not a star player and he will make $10 million this year under the terms of the contract he willingly chose to sign with the Pirates. His desire to leave because his friends are no longer Pirates should play no part in the team’s decisions regarding his future.
Huntingdon will not be swayed by Harrison’s comments in any way.
He’ll still be traded as the Pirates always planned to do anyway.
I agree that Huntington will not be swayed.
The media in Pittsburgh collectively knows less than nothing about baseball.
I’ve heard multiple different talking heads today ask “why would they sign Felipe Rivero after trading Cutch and Cole?”
Why would you sign a young, elite player to an absurdly (so much so that Ken Rosenthal questioned whether he had an agent or not) team friendly contract?
Gee, I wonder…
Thought Rivero changed to Boras. Am I wrong??
He had one good year and acts like he can start on a contending team LOL that’s so rich. pure, absolutely pure ignorance.
Try being a late inning defensive replacement. One season he has had an OPS+ over 100. last season was a fluke, not to mention he is 30. Trade him to the A’s. LOL
Yankees had a better version of him in Castro. No need to take on Harrison’s awful contract and give up prospects. Torreyes is a better utility guy at a fraction of the price.
I actually hope that the pirates move Harrison, pick up Castro and put him at third. Actually be an upgrade
Every agent should sit down with their players and explain that declaring or suggesting to the media that you want to be traded rarely, if ever, produces the intended results. If you want to be traded, tell your agent who will communicate that to the front office. Putting it out there for the fans and media, neither of whom has any control over the situation, makes the player look bad and actually decreases the chances your team will get anything close to fair market offers in trade discussions.
Pittsburgh should have traded Harrison first and then Cutch. Harrison will fetch more than one thinks. He is a very good player. He has won games for them with his bat and his glove. He had three very good years and hits well every year since his contract year. Where he would go would be the biggest question. Maybe he can play centerfield for the Giants. That way cutch and him can be together
If you look at his underwhelming stats he’s ironically part of the reason why the pirates haven’t been co tenders the last few seasons.
You signed that contract (which you haven’t been worth besides 2017) with the intention to stay. Shut up and play ball
Hopefully they do trade JHay, he was a fan favorite and deserves to play for a winning team. In case “yinz” missed it, the point of playing baseball is to win nd cleary the bucs aint doin that this year or even next year for that matter so I 100% defend Harrisons decision to wanna get outta town. Hopefully Neal can grab something useful for him and build a decent team asap. To anybody thinking the pirates can compete for a wild card this year you are completely delusional, the team chemistry is definitely shot and no player in their right mind should trust this FO. The rest of the Central looks tough and its hard to trust Hurdles lineup and bullpen management. To all my real Pirates fans out there ik this week has really hurt nd im sorry for that but one day we will return to the WS just you wait.