In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
PirateFest may be awkward
Yesterday the Washington Nationals traded for a center fielder. They acquired Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. The deal pretty much brings an end to the McCutchen-to-the-Nationals rumors as it’s unlikely they need two center fielders. I would wager a guess that the Eaton trade means you will see McCutchen roaming PNC Park on Opening Day.
Andrew McCutchen will be at PirateFest this weekend and I’d wager there may be some awkwardness when he runs into Neal Huntington. McCutchen has never been in trade rumors, so it’ll be interesting to see how he is at PirateFest. He is a professional, so I am sure he will be as fan-friendly as he always is but the Players Q&A will be interesting.
It’s easy to think of ballplayers as nothing but resources but they are human beings. People like to feel wanted and trade rumors sort of say the opposite. The most optimistic scenario is this lights a fire under McCutchen and he bounces back big time in 2017. Let’s hope we see the return of MVP-form McCutchen starting Opening Day.
Chapman Cashes In
The biggest and most expensive news yesterday was Aroldis Chapman returning to the Yankees as he signed a five-year, $86 million deal. This deal makes Chapman the highest paid relief pitcher of all time. He broke the record set by Mark Melancon earlier this week.
Chapman pitched for the Yankees last season before he was traded to the Cubs at the trade deadline. This can be viewed as a deal that helped all parties involved. The Cubs got a shutdown closer that helped them win the World Series and the Yankees got a couple pieces for the future. Now, they have their shutdown closer back in the fold. That’s almost the definition of win/win, especially for the Yankees.
Chapman has been the most dominant reliever in baseball since he broke in with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010. Everyone knew he’d cash-in big time when he finally hit free agency, so this deal shouldn’t come as a surprise. The only surprise is it was the Yankees giving it to him. By all accounts, the Yankees were in a rebuild and generally rebuilding clubs don’t sign relievers to mega deals. This says to me that the Yankees don’t expect this to be a long rebuild and they could be back to contending very soon.