Cheap Throwback Pittsburgh Pirates Jerseys

Rumors: Is Pittsburgh Pirates starting center fielder Andrew McCutchen a match for the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants?

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a very interesting situation this offseason in regards to Andrew McCutchen. Even more so than last offseason, Cutch is more likely to be dealt this winter. This is mainly due to the fact that he is entering the last year of his contract. With him entering free agency next year, McCutchen will likely be priced out of the Pittsburgh Pirates future.

So far this offseason, there has not been a lot of rumors regarding McCutchen. Part of the issue is how slowly the outfield market is playing out. First, Giancarlo Stanton was holding up things. With his deal done to the Yankees, it leaves Cutch as the top option on the trade market. However, the free agency market still is far from settled. Top outfield free agents like J.D Martinez, Lorenzo Cain, and Jay Bruce are still unsigned. A player like Martinez projects to bring as much, if not more, offensive value as McCutchen at this point. Meanwhile, Bruce and Cain can be had for just straight money versus a team’s prospects.

Giants

So who is a match for Cutch? The only team that has been reported to show interest thus far is the San Francisco Giants. The Giants missed out during the Stanton sweepstakes. They also traded Matt Moore clearing about $9 million dollars. Their front office spoke about how they will be able to reallocate Moore’s money to help upgrade their lineup. So it could be possible they are setting themselves up to make a move for their outfield. The club also dealt outfielder Denard Span to the Tampa Bay Rays for Evan Longoria, freeing up a spot in the outfield.
Dodgers

The other West Coast team that could be in play for McCutchen could be the Dodgers. After their recent salary trade with the Braves, there is speculation that the Dodgers are looking to add an outfielder. The trade with the Braves allowed the Dodgers to get under the luxury tax. With that, Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers mlb.com writer, speculated that the Dodgers could be in play for McCutchen:

Cutch would keep the Dodgers payroll under the luxury tax lines. Also, they have one of the better farm systems in baseball. Therefore, they would have the pieces to send back to the Pirates to entice the club to trade away their franchise player. Meanwhile, on the Dodgers side of things, they get a potential all-star to help get them back to the World Series. He would join an outfield already made up by Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor. They do have Joc Pederson as well, but Pederson has not proven that he can play against left-handed pitching.

A deal seems likely this offseason. If the Pittsburgh Pirates acquire Clint Frazier from the Yankees, then the odds are even more likely. Both the Dodgers and Giants are in need of an outfielder, the Giants more so than the Dodgers. When will a deal happen? Who knows. It really comes down to if the Bucs can get a proper return and how the free agent market shakes out.

Cheap Throwback San Diego Padres Jerseys

For months, Padres officials have privately suggested the same thing many people outside the organization speculated: that San Diego is a long shot to sign Japanese megastar Shohei Ohtani.

If that was misdirection, they did a masterful job.

The Padres, sources confirmed Sunday night, are one of seven finalists in a sweepstakes that has kept even semi-informed observers guessing from the start. San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, both Los Angeles teams, Texas and the Chicago Cubs have been invited to meet with Ohtani and his representatives beginning this week in Los Angeles. The Giants reportedly are up first.

Now that Ohtani has trimmed his list from almost 30 to a handful, the speculation has reached a new level. Some think the enigmatic 23-year-old already knows where he wants to play. And more and more people on both sides of the Pacific Ocean think that place might very well be San Diego.

Sunday night in Stamford, Conn., New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman dropped a bombshell that surprised the entire sport, even some in the Padres organization. Ohtani, Cashman told reporters, had eliminated the Yankees, long thought to be a front-runner, from contention.

“I know that our presentation was excellent,” Cashman said. “The feedback from that was outstanding. But I did get a sense that I can’t change that we’re a big market and I can’t change we’re in the East.”

San Diego, of course, represents maybe the starkest contrast to New York. Ohtani’s list of finalists reinforces his preferences.

But the other suitors might face larger obstacles.

The Padres, not expected to contend for at least another season, could give Ohtani what the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters afforded him. A half-decade ago, Japan’s best teenage talent was convinced to stay by one of that country’s less prominent teams. The Fighters, knowing how strongly Ohtani desired to test himself in the U.S., pitched him on playing both ways. Ohtani proceeded to do that with unprecedented success, and now would like to continue exploring his two-way potential in the majors.

The non-San Diego finalists are presently constructed to win more games in 2018. If Ohtani is hitting, say, .215 in June, a contending team might propose it’s better for him to focus on pitching. Meanwhile, the Padres, who’ve carried three Rule 5 draftees and auditioned a catcher as a reliever, should not have the same problem.

Should the topic of a winning environment come up, the Padres can tout their farm system, one of the best in the game. Ownership is hopeful for a playoff berth by 2020. (Acquiring a player of Ohtani’s caliber would help.)

Communicating such factors to Ohtani should be relatively easy. The Padres’ ties here have been well-documented. Several employees are either revered in Japan or have personal relationships with Ohtani, such as ex-Fighters trainer Seiichiro Nakagaki. Ohtani is already familiar with the Padres’ spring training site at the Peoria Sports Complex, where the Fighters held a portion of their preseason preparation each of the last two years.

For now, even after the field has shrunk, much remains unknown. Little to no substantial clues have leaked from Ohtani’s camp, and General Manager A.J. Preller has publicly commented on his pursuit only once, when the Union-Tribune posed a question Saturday.

“As a group, we’re prepared, and I think he’s a player that obviously we’ve scouted and have history with,” Preller said. “You try to see what the fits are and why he’s a good fit for us and why we’re a good fit for him.”

The Padres, favorite or not, certainly have done their homework.