The Blue Jays are looking for outfield upgrades and have considered trading for Andrew McCutchen, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Several teams remain interested in McCutchen even as the Pirates have said they’re likely to keep him.
I discussed some of the details here this morning at MLBTR. To spell this out a bit differently than I’m able to there, though:
It certainly doesn’t seem impossible the Pirates and Blue Jays could come together on a deal. The Jays should be looking for at least one more corner outfielder, and they do seem to have kept a keen eye on the Pirates, having signed J.A. Happ last offseason and traded for Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez this year.
I’d still be surprised if the Pirates traded McCutchen to the Jays, however. The Pirates’ recent pact with Ivan Nova seemed to mark a change in course toward contending rather than rebuilding. The organization doesn’t always seem to think in simple binaries about what direction they’re going, but the failed attempts to trade McCutchen, the declaration that they would probably keep him, the Nova deal, and their reported pursuit of Jose Quintana all suggest pretty strongly that they’ve pointed their ship toward contention at this point.
Maybe a great offer for McCutchen would change their thinking. They’ve seemingly changed their minds once, and perhaps they could do so again. But I don’t think the Jays are likely to make a great offer. Their farm system isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great, partially because previous GM Alex Anthopoulos made a number of win-now trades before departing. Now their best prospects are guys like Richard Urena and Sean Reid-Foley, who are both perfectly good but don’t look like they could headline a blockbuster deal. There’s also Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who’s interesting but who’s miles from the majors. The Blue Jays probably also couldn’t add any young big-league talent to the deal (Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Devon Travis, Roberto Osuna) without significantly detracting from their chances of contending.
My guess, then, is that the Jays could assemble a package worthy of McCutchen if the Pirates were keen to trade him. Every indication right now suggests they’re not, so I’m guessing this particular rumor won’t go very far.