Source – dkpittsburghsports.com
The winter meetings came to an end Thursday with Andrew McCutchen still a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The star outfielder’s name was heavily circulated in trade rumors this offseason. GM Neal Huntington was expected to deal McCutchen during the annual five day get-together of baseball’s top executives, but his remarks to reporters after the Rule 5 draft indicate Cutch will remain in Pittsburgh for opening day 2017.
“Our intent coming in here was to have Andrew McCutchen in our lineup. No one changed that. It’s unlikely someone changes that going forward, said Huntington. “We’ll continue to look for the right opportunity for the right reasons for the organization. It’s safe to anticipate, if something is to happen, it probably would happen earlier in the offseason, with really any of our bigger-name guys.”
McCutchen, who turned 30 on October 10, endured his worst season as a professional in 2016, hitting .256 with a career-worst -0.7 WAR.
Trade rumors involving the five-time All Star and 2013 NL MVP began to swirl as the team fell out of contention and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Moving McCutchen would allow the Pirates to shift the defensively superior Starling Marte to center field, opening up a corner outfield spot for prospect Josh Bell.
The Washington Nationals were considered the frontrunner to land McCutchen had he been dealt. The talks stalled and the Nationals opted to trade for Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton instead.
Offseason news and notes
Starting LHP Jeff Locke signed with the Miami Marlins Thursday, joining Matt Joyce (Athletics) and Sean Rodriguez (Braves) on the list of Pirates free agents to sign elsewhere this offseason.
Pirates free agents that have yet to sign with a team; Neftali Feliz, Eric Fryer, Ivan Nova and Ryan Vogelsong.
Starting pitching was a major disappointment for the Pirates in 2016 and they are looking for some help. The team has been linked free agent starters Tyson Ross, Derek Holland and Brett Anderson. Anderson, 28, would be the latest reclamation project for pitching coach Ray Searage if signed. The lefty has shown promise when not on the disabled list.
The Pirates made their first Rule 5 draft selection since 2011, taking Yankees pitcher Tyler Webb. Webb, a 26 year-old LHP, recorded 3.59 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings in AAA this year.