UPDATE: Pirates haven’t entertained offers for Andrew McCutchen

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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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.