Two days after trading their best pitcher, the Pirates traded their best player in this century and the Face of the Franchise, Andrew McCutchen, to the Giants for a rookie pitcher, Kyle Crick, and a minor league outfielder, Brian Reynolds.
If you follow the Pirates, you certainly knew that this day was coming, but that doesn't soften the blow of losing the guy who was such a good player - an MVP and a five time All-Star - who was so much fun to watch play, and who just seemed to be such a good teammate and a good guy off the field (he was an MLB Roberto Clemente Award winner). It may be silly that you put such an emotional investment in a person who plays baseball, or any other sport, for money, but that is what fans do, but Andrew McCutchen is a guy who seemed to earn that attachment from Pirates fans.
From a pure baseball standpoint, the trade of McCutchen cam be defended (as can the trades of Gerrit Cole on Saturday and of Neil Walker in 2016). He'll be 32 years old this year, his skills were declining, although he did hit 28 HR's in 2017, and on and on, but the theme that runs through the two trades this weekend (and the Walker trade two years ago, and other trades over the years) is money, and the Pirates unwillingness to spend it. In a vacuum, every single trade that Neal Huntington has made, or been forced to make, can be defended from a baseball point of view, but when you look at them in their totality, the one common theme is that the Pirates just will not spend money beyond whatever their predetermined bottom line is as decreed by Bob Nutting. It is just so unbelievably frustrating to see this happen year after year after year.
Now as for Crick and Reynolds, I hope they become stars for the Pirates, just like I hope the four guys who came from the Astros for Cole do, but here is something I know. Twice before in his tenure, Huntington was called upon to trade one of his stars, Jason Bay in 2008 and Neil Walker in 2016, and on both occasions, he whiffed big time. Will it happen again in these deals? I sure hope not, but how would you bet if you were forced to?
As for the 2018 Pirates, well, how can you be optimistic, despite the b.s. being spouted by Huntington and Nutting yesterday? In a town where the Steelers and Penguins continually give their fans winning, contending teams, the Pirates can only be seen as a bunch of penny pinching skinflints who want to win only if it can be done on the cheap, which it can't be in MLB. The Pirates, rightly or wrongly, appear to have lost the hearts and minds of a huge portion of their fan base, and they are going to have an enormous and perhaps impossible job in winning them back in 2018.