The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates continue to discuss a possible blockbuster deal involving outfielder Andrew McCutchen
The Pirates would like to acquire Washington Nationals outfield prospect Victor Robles, but would also want Reynaldo Lopez and a third player in exchange for center fielder Andrew McCutchen, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports.
The idea of the Nats adding a player like McCutchen is great, providing they don’t give up too much. However, would giving up Robles be considered as too much?
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Robles is ranked as the second-best prospect in the Nats’ farm system, per MLB.com. The 19-year-old played across three levels in the minors last season and performed well. He posted a .280 batting average and .798 OPS in 110 games with 17 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs, 42 RBI and 37 stolen bases. He could potentially be a major contributor for the Nats in a couple of years, but the problem is the club is currently in a win-now mode.
The second aspect of the deal would presumably involve Lopez, who is one of the better pitching prospects in the Washington Nationals farm system.
Last season, the 22-year-old right-hander had flashes of brilliance and endured some struggles with the team last year, as indicated by his 4.91 ERA in 11 games (six starts). When you look at Lopez’s pitch arsenal, he has the potential to be a top of the line starter or be a key piece in the bullpen.
The last part of the deal could be a third player that the Washington Nationals would have to give up. If it’s someone outside their top-10 prospects, it would be worth it. However, if the Pirates are asking for another pitching prospect, that would be too much to give up.
McCutchen is coming off a bad year in which he hit .256 with 24 home runs and 79 RBI. The defense for him is also declining, as he compiled minus-28 defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs. He is under contract for two more years. He will make $14 million in 2017, and there’s a $14.5 million team option in 2018.
It’s possible that he bounces back and has an MVP-type campaign in 2017, but giving up young players for someone that might be starting their decline is risky. It will depend on who the Washington Nationals must give up and what they’ll get in return that will determine if this possible deal is worth it.