UPDATE: That was fun while it lasted. According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a high-ranking team official said the Pirates have not entertained trade offers for McCutchen and have no intention of doing so.
6:50 PM: Andrew McCutchen, who made his first All-Star team before slipping in the second half of last season, is potentially available in trade talks, a source told ESPN’s Keith Law.
McCutchen just turned 25 in October and is four years away from free agency, so there’s certainly no pressure for the Pirates to move him now. It should also be noted that Law’s report doesn’t indicate that the Pirates are shopping him, just that they’d listen to offers.
Even that idea, though, would have seemed far fetched a few months ago. One factor influencing the Pirates here is that they’ve tried and failed a couple of times to lock up McCutchen to a long-term deal. Also, McCutchen’s overall lack of growth since he entered the league is somewhat disturbing. While McCutchen has added power, he’s no better of a player now than he was in a rookie. His strikeout rate took a big jump last season (from 89 strikeouts in 653 plate appearances in 2010 to 126 in 678 plate appearances), and he hasn’t proven to be much better than an average defensive center fielder.
It’s still doubtful the Pirates would trade him, but if someone is willing to make a big offer, they might bite. Washington would seem like an obvious candidate there. If the Nationals would start with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and add a couple of prospects, that’d be a pretty attractive proposal.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.