NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. - A report on Tuesday by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Rob Biertempfel, which cited “industry sources”, said the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates talked about Andrew McCutchen, but “... the Nationals rebuffed the Pirates' offer to swap McCutchen for outfielder Victor Robles and pitcher Lucas Giolito.”
The two teams were reportedly talking again after the Nationals failed bid to acquire Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox, who sent the left-hander to the Boston Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, No. 2 on Baseball America’s 2017 list of Boston’s Top 10 prospects, Michael Kopech, BA’s top-ranked pitcher in the Red Sox’ organization, Luis Alexander Basabe, an outfielder who was ranked No. 8 on BA’s list, and 22-year-old right-hander Victor Diaz.
The Nationals’ offer for Sale?
In an attempt to land the 27-year-old southpaw, who is under contract through 2019, for $12M in 2017 with club options at $12.5M in 2018 and $13.5M in 2019 (or a $1M buyout in each year), Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, according to Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, was willing to offer Giolito, Robles and Reynaldo Lopez, who entered the 2016 campaign ranked 1st, 3rd and 5th, respectively, in the Nationals’ organization on BA’s list, and are currently ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd on MLB.com’s list of the Nationals’ top prospects.
Svrluga added that Robles won’t likely be included in any other offers:
Don't expect Robles to reappear in offers for other players. But the Nats could well be back in play on McCutchen.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) December 7, 2016
Svrluga’s colleague at the Washington Post, Chelsea Janes, wrote on Tuesday night that she was hearing the same when it comes to Robles:
Nationals unwilling to part with Robles now that Sale is off the table. So not for McCutchen, etc.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) December 7, 2016
Will the Nationals be able to land McCutchen without including Robles? Are you surprised that they were willing to offer Giolito, Robles and Lopez for Sale? Will another option present itself that will require less of a prospect package?
Before the reports of the names that were offered to the White Sox, Rizzo was asked if he had any trepidation offering the prospects that he did for Sale, but he said that in a unique situation, the Nationals made an effort to land the starter.
“The caliber of pitcher available isn’t often [bandied] in the trade market,” he said.
“He was a quality pitcher so you’re going to have to give up quality to get him and it was a move that you have three years of control of a really good pitcher so you’re going to have to give up a lot for him and we felt that we reached as far as we were going to reach in the trade and we fell short.”