San Francisco acquired former league MVP Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates in exchange for right-hander Kyle Crick, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 of international money.
Do the Giants really believe they can win this year with this move? They are coming off a 98-loss season. They finished 40 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, and oh yeah, that division produced three playoff teams last season -- the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies were the NL wild-card teams.
I know the Giants added Evan Longoria this offseason, too, but he's similar to McCutchen -- still a good player, but a veteran on the downside of his career. McCutchen will be a free agent after the 2018 season, so this is very much a win-now move. But to me, San Francisco is going to have to hope other clubs in its division take big steps backward. The Giants look like a 75-win team to me, at best.
And what about the Pirates? That isn't a very good return for McCutchen. I had never heard Reynolds' name until he was included in this deal. Apparently, he's a switch-hitting outfielder who was drafted 59th overall in the 2016 draft. Good for him.
Crick is entering his age-25 season. He broke into the big leagues last year and compiled a 3.06 ERA in 30 relief appearances for the Giants.
Good for him, too, I guess, but if I'm a Pirates fan, I'm saying, "That's all we got for the player who has been the face of the franchise for the past five or six years?"
Yuck, all the way around.
Pittsburgh obviously is entering a rebuild phase. The Pirates traded Gerrit Cole to the Astros, too, in a move that makes a lot of sense for Houston.
The Astros are the defending champs, and they just added another guy who is top-of-the-rotation material in an effort to boost their chances of repeating. Unlike the Giants, the Astros have legitimate hopes of "winning now."
What did that cost Houston? Its fifth-best prospect in infielder Colin Moran, plus pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz and an outfield prospect named Jason Martin.
You make that deal in a second if you are the Astros. If you are the Pirates, well, you got some guys in exchange for Cole and McCutchen, but I'm struggling to find any names in those trades that project as future franchise cornerstones. And make no mistake about it, Cole and McCutchen were franchise cornerstones for the Pirates.
There might be some tough years ahead in Pittsburgh, and in San Francisco, too, for that matter.