After the Pirates traded two franchise cornerstones in three days, Josh Harrison said in a statement to The Athletic that he would also like to be traded if the team doesn’t expect to contend in 2018 or 2019.
“Over the last week, many have asked me how I felt about first the trade of Gerrit and now, the trade of Andrew. My focus has been on my family, my training and my camp with my brother Vince on Martin Luther King Day. It is now time to respond,” Harrison said.
“Baseball is a business and I understand that trades are part of the business. While I love this game, the reality is that I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.
“My passion for Pittsburgh, what it has MEANT to me, what it MEANS to me, can never be questioned. I love this city, I love the fans, I love my teammates. Saying that, the GM is on record as saying, ‘When we get back to postseason-caliber baseball, we would love our fans to come back out.’ If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded. I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer.”
Harrison, who made his second All-Star appearance in 2017, is set to make $10 million in 2018, with club options for 2019 and 2020.
His name has popped up in trade rumors all offseason — most recently, the Post-Gazette reported interest from the Brewers.
A veteran who likely won’t be around to contribute to the next possible contending Pirates team, Harrison has seemed likely to be moved in a trade, even more so after the trades of Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. Harrison’s discontentment, however, could possibly be a wrench in the team’s reloading plans, having focused on major-league-ready players in return for Cole and McCutchen. Those returns could have possibly justified keeping Harrison in tow, though not much would be surprising at this point.