The Pirates and Nationals discussed a trade prior to last August's non-waiver trade deadline that would have sent Andrew McCutchen to Washington, Ken Rosenthal reports. The deal would have been separate from the one that sent Mark Melancon to the Nats.
The Bucs wanted 19-year-old outfield prospect Victor Robles in the trade, Rosenthal says. MLB.com currently ranks Robles the No. 10 prospect in all of baseball, calling him a potential five-tool player with a good bat, a solid plate approach, outstanding speed and strong center field defense. Robles, though, spent the season in the low minors, and the Pirates would have wanted more for McCutchen than one prospect who's very far from the majors.
Rosenthal notes that the two teams are unlikely to continue discussing the deal, apparently because the Pirates currently think McCutchen's trade value is higher than the Nationals think it is.
Obviously, it's impossible to say whether the deal the two teams were discussing would have been a good one for the Bucs. It's worth noting, though, that the Pirates were still in the Wild Card hunt at the deadline. Pretty much regardless of what the Pirates would have gotten in return for McCutchen, they would have caught a ton of flak for trading their franchise player (albeit one in the midst of a poor season) in the middle of a playoff race. As Rosenthal points out, the existence of the talks also suggests that the Bucs are serious about the possibility of trading McCutchen, who's under team control through 2018.