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Pirates, Mets have had ‘off-and-on’ discussions about Andrew McCutchen trade

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Mets are looking for a center fielder and have had “off-and-on” discussions with the Pirates about an Andrew McCutchen trade, Ken Rosenthal reports, citing a source. There is, however, no deal imminent.

It would certainly be strange to see McCutchen and Neil Walker occupy the same lineup yet again. Rosenthal, though, characterizes a McCutchen/Mets deal as unlikely, due to the number of moving parts on the Mets’ side. They’d have a big glut of corner outfielders. And Rosenthal thinks the Pirates would ask for a young starter, which means the Mets would have to pursue a replacement for whichever of those players departed.

UPDATE: As a couple of you have pointed out in the comments, I misread Rosenthal, who wasn't directly listing Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo as potential Pirates trade targets. Still, enjoy the not-entirely-relevant analysis of their trade value below.

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Gsellman and Lugo, by the way, would likely be second or third pieces in a McCutchen deal, not headliners. Gsellman is easily the more interesting of the two. He has a great ground-ball rate and decent velocity, and I’m sure the Pirates would like that his primary pitch is a two-seamer. But his success in 44.2 innings in his rookie 2016 season was propelled by a very low HR/FB% that he’ll never be able to replicate. He’s also had very low strikeout rates throughout the minors, which means that he probably looks something like a No. 3 starter in the long term. That’s a valuable player, but probably not the sort of centerpiece you’d want if you’re going to trade McCutchen.

Lugo, too, had success as a rookie in 2016, with a 2.67 ERA in 64 innings. His ERA, though, is mostly worthless in predicting what he’ll do going forward. He’s already 27, and his minor league track record is underwhelming.