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Andrew McCutchen could be traded to the Washington Nationals as early as today

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As reported for the past couple of days, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been shopping outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Somewhat aggressively, in fact, to the point where they’re calling other teams to see if a deal can be done. Now, it seems, a deal is getting closer.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Pirates and Washington Nationals have “ramped up” discussions about a McCutchen trade, with the Nationals pushing to make a deal today, given tomorrow’s non-tender deadline. Time is of the essence because, if they acquired McCutchen, he’d play center field, Trea Turner would be moved to shortstop and current shortstop Danny Espinosa would be non-tendered. If a deal is not done before tomorrow, Washington would be more inclined to tender Espinosa a contract.

It seems nuts that the Pirates would trade the guy who won an MVP Award in 2013 and who has been the face of their franchise for many years. Yes, he had a down year in 2016, but he is under contract through next season at a quite reasonable $14 million and the team has a club option on him for 2018 worth $14.5 million. To deal him now suggests that Pittsburgh believes 2016 was more than just a fluke. That would be fine in a baseball sense if they can get a huge package in return, but even if they do, it has to be demoralizing for Pirates fans to see what can only look like a premature teardown of a club that made the playoffs for three straight years before 2016.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.