The baseball world continues to wait... but there is still no word of the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates being able to reach an agreement on a trade for veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
The latest word on Friday night was that both sides are continuing to talk...
That was of course, also what some reporters, including Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Stephen J. Nesbitt were hearing early on Friday morning after the initial reports of the potential deal surfaced on Thursday afternoon.
Pirates and Nationals continuing to pursue a trade for Andrew McCutchen, per source. Pirates breaking down video of Nats prospects this a.m.— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) December 2, 2016
Jon Heyman, of Today’s Knuckleball and FanRag Sports, wrote on Friday night that he was hearing that the Pirates want the Nationals’ top outfield prospect Victor Robles, plus a top young starting pitcher like Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez or Joe Ross in any package for McCutchen.
MLB.com’s Adam Berry quoted Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington saying he was taking a wait and see approach:
"We’ll see how the Winter Meetings play out. There’s a lot more noise out there right now than signal."
Former Nats’ GM and current ESPN and MLB Network analyst Jim Bowden reported on Twitter that a Pirates source told him the talks were ongoing as of Friday night:
Pirates and Nationals still working on a lot of different angles that will send Andrew McCutchen to Washington according to a Pirates source— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) December 3, 2016
Will Rizzo actually give up Robles, a prospect who was reportedly untouchable last July when the Nationals were in the market for a closer and talking to teams like the Bucs, who did eventually trade Mark Melancon to D.C. The two teams reportedly discussed a possible McCutchen deal at the time, with FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reporting a source told him, “talks collapsed due to the large number of moving parts,” and were unlikely to revive, “... because of differences in McCutchen’s perceived value.”
The talks have apparently revived, however, though it appears they could once again be at a standstill when it comes to McCutchen’s value.
Rosenthal wrote earlier this month that Robles, “was one Pirates target,” in the previous talks, “[b]ut the Pirates wanted more than just the Class A outfielder for McCutchen, and a number of other players would have been involved.”
Will one side or the other budge on their asking price?
Will the Nationals part with a top position and pitching prospect plus more for two years of control of McCutchen, 30, who is coming off a down year offensively, is under contract for $14M in 2017 with a club option for 2018 at $14.5M or a $1M buyout, and was, according to advanced metrics (DRS, UZR), one of the worst defensive center fielders in the National League in 2016?
MLBTraderumors.com’s Jeff Todd wrote Friday night, in discussing the ongoing talks, that “[f]rom the perspective of the Nationals... giving up even Robles seems like a big ask given McCutchen’s struggles in this past season.”
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote earlier this week, in looking at Rizzo’s trade history, and talking about the Nationals’ rumored interest in Chris Sale, that, “... one of Rizzo's peers noted, ‘He doesn't make bad trades.’”
Will the Nats’ GM find a way to get the center fielder he wants without giving up the top prospects who were untouchable just a few months back?