The Pirates and Mariners recently discussed a trade involving Andrew McCutchen, but those talks failed to gain traction, Jon Morosi tweets.
Sources: #Mariners inquired on Andrew McCutchen earlier this offseason; those talks with #Pirates did not advance. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2016
There's a lot you can imagine happened here, if you want to. The Mariners hope to contend next season and have an outfield that could stand an upgrade, has a lot of moving parts and is heavily left-handed; McCutchen would appear to be a good fit for them.
Presumably, though, Neal Huntington asked for a lot in return, perhaps leading to another situation like the one last summer where he negotiated with the Nationals about a potential McCutchen deal but the two sides couldn't find common ground as to what McCutchen's value was. (The Pirates reportedly sought outfield prospect Victor Robles in discussions with the Nationals; the Mariners don't really have any prospects on that level, except perhaps 2016 first-rounder Kyle Lewis.) Huntington has said he expects McCutchen to his pre-2016 form next season. While the Pirates should be open to the possibility of trading McCutchen, there shouldn't be any urgency for them to do so at a discount price, since they might be selling low and could well contend in 2017 themselves.
Anyway, expect to read plenty more reports like this as the offseason develops. The Pirates might not trade McCutchen at all, obviously. And even if they do, a deal might wait until a top free agent like Yoenis Cespedes comes off the market, which might take awhile.