The Texas Rangers are the newest team involved in trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates about star outfielder Andrew McCutchen, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The two teams are said to be in "frequent contact" and a deal is described as "possible, but not close."
Several teams are hot after McCutchen and the Pirates appear likely to deal him at some point this offseason. Teams such as the Dodgers, Nationals, and Mariners have been linked with the All-Star outfielder. Though Rosenthal mentions a deal is possible, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports said a deal is "not likely" based on the high asking price. One could certainly get worked out, but as of now, the asking price is high and no deal is imminent.
Texas, winners of the AL West last season, are linked with several big-name free agents. The team is looking to re-sign OF Ian Desmond, who had a breakout year after coming over from Washington. The team has also had discussions with slugger Edwin Encarnacion. It is clear that the team would love to add another star player to the mix in order to make another serious push for the World Series. Adding a player of McCutchen's caliber would be quite a boon, even if he is coming off one of his worst season's as a professional.
McCutchen, 30, is signed through 2017, but has a team option for the 2018 season. Last season, the outfielder struggled for much of the season, slashing just .256/.336/.430 while hitting 24 home runs and driving in 79 runs. McCutchen also set a career high in strikeouts with 143 and took fewer walks last season. Two other areas of concerns for the Pirates with their outfielder was his stolen base numbers falling considerably, as he managed just 6 steals. His defense in the outfield also left a lot to be desired and these concerns have likely driven the talks this offseason, as the Pirates appear ready to deal.null