Thursday’s roundup: Pirates’ McCutchen on trading block
Pairing a high-end Nationals pitching prospect with outfield prospect Victor Robles in an Andrew McCutchen trade could be too much for Washington, according to a source.
Sources told the Post-Gazette’s Stephen J. Nesbitt this week the Pirates discussed trades involving McCutchen with the Nationals, Mariners and Rangers, and they probably have had conversations with more teams. The Nationals appear to be a match: Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Pirates want Robles, 19 as part of the package.
The Pirates need all kinds of starting pitching, and the Nationals have some good young ones: Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Joe Ross, A.J. Cole. But one evaluator described the Nationals as high on Robles.
The rest of their system, position-wise, is not as strong, so packaging one of the top-tier young pitching prospects might give the Nationals pause.
Baseball America ranked Robles as the organization’s No. 3 prospect before the season, and he hit .280/.376/.423 with nine homers and 37 steals across three minor league levels (ending in high A) in 2016.
One option who could make sense is Gio Gonzalez, a 31-year-old left-hander who would fulfill the Pirates wish to acquire a veteran starter. He is owed $12 million in 2017 and has a $12 million club option for 2018, which vests at 180 innings pitched.
Around the horn
Edinson Volquez admits he was “tired” toward the second half of last season, which attributed to his bloated 5.37 ERA.
The 33-year-old right-hander, fresh off completing his $22 million, two-year contract with the Marlins, assured everyone he is rested and ready to go.
“I pitched a lot of innings the year before,” Volquez said, referring to the 2001/3 innings he threw for the World Series champion Royals in 2015. “By June and July (of 2016), I was tired.”
Volquez, who has made more than 30 starts in each of the past four years, was 10-11 last season, including 3-1 against the Tigers.
He joins a rotation shaken by the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident a week before the end of the regular season in September.
... David Ortiz has a new Christmas sweater out, but you might not want to wear it around the kids.
The shirts say “This is our … Christmas,” with a partially obscured naughty word that refers back to the Red Sox designated hitter’s speech following the Boston Marathon bombings.
The shirts are being sold to raise money for the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps kids with congenital heart defects get life-saving surgery.
... John Kruk,, who parlayed his affable personality into a successful TV career, is returning to the Phillies in 2017 as a broadcaster.
A three-time All-Star in six seasons with the Phillies, Kruk spent 12 years at ESPN before leaving in October.
... The Dodgers agreed to one-year contracts with first baseman/outfielder Scott Van Slyke and pitcher Chris Hatcher, avoiding arbitration.
... Catcher Jose Lobaton and the Nationals agreed to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration Thursday.
. . . The Cardinals traded left-hander Jaime Garcia to the Braves for a trio of prospects, including second baseman Luke Dykstra, son of former All-Star Lenny Dykstra.