ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Pirates are considering moving Andrew McCutchen — the club’s long time center fielder — to right field. They would then move Starling Marte to center and Gregory Polanco to left.
McCutchen’s defense in center has deteriorated in recent years. Meanwhile, Marte earned his second career Rawlings Gold Glove Award on Tuesday. It also makes sense that the Pirates would move Polanco to left field to utilize his speed in the most spacious area of the ballpark. That, however, means that McCutchen’s relatively weak arm would be in right field, a spot where teams typically put their best outfield arm.
In other McCutchen-related news, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Pirates and Nationals discussed a trade involving the five-time All-Star prior to the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Rosenthal suggests the Pirates are still willing to trade McCutchen for the right offer.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports hears that starter Jeremy Hellickson is leaning towards rejecting the Phillies’ $17.2 million qualifying offer to test the free agent market. Hellickson is represented by Scott Boras, so this is not particularly surprising.
Hellickson, 29, had a bounceback 2016 campaign after three rough years from 2013-15. He made 32 starts spanning 189 innings, compiling a 3.71 ERA and a 154/45 K/BB ratio. While the stats don’t scream “free agent payday,” this offseason’s free agent market is uniquely barren. As such, Hellickson is arguably the second-best starter available as I noted in my preview of the free agent starters.
If Hellickson does reject the Phillies’ QO, he’ll have draft pick compensation attached to him. That means his new team will have to forfeit a draft pick in order to sign him, which could serve as a detriment. Some players with QO compensation attached to them didn’t end up signing until late February ahead of this past season.
The deadline for players to decide whether to accept or reject their qualifying offers is next Monday, November 14.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Yankees GM Brian Cashman has identified a potential trade partner for catcher Brian McCann. Catching prospect Gary Sanchez broke out with the Yankees in the final two months of the season and will be the starting catcher going forward, making McCann expendable.
McCann, 32, has two years and $34 million reamining on his contract as well as a $15 million club option for the 2019 season. He had an average season in 2016, batting .242/.335/.413 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI in 492 plate appearances.
The Braves and Astros are two teams believed to have interest in McCann this offseason.