The Pittsburgh Pirates deny they are having a fire sale, but the recent trades of Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen make it look as if they are. And one other veteran Pirate who could help either the Mets or Yankees doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild.
Infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison said in a statement to the website The Athletic on Tuesday that “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.”
The Mets and Yankees have both engaged the Pirates in trade talks at different times this offseason. The Yankees were interested in Cole, the righthander who was traded to the Astros last week, and the Mets had conversations about McCutchen, the All-Star outfielder who was dealt to the Giants on Monday.
It’s probable that Harrison’s name came up in those discussions because the Mets and Yankees both have infield openings, and he may come up again after his comments and with the Pirates in deal-now and not win-now mode.
The Mets are in need of a second baseman (or a third baseman if Asdrubal Cabrera shifts to second) and the Yankees are, at this moment, without any veteran options for second or third base.
Harrison, 30, is a two-time All-Star who hit .272 with a career-high 16 HRs and 47 RBIs in 2017. He started 79 games at second, 37 at third and six in leftfield for the Pirates. Harrison is owed $10 million for 2018 and has club options of $10.5 million for 2019 and $11.5 million for 2020.
The Mets have looked into trading for a veteran second baseman this offseason. They inquired about Ian Kinsler before he was traded by the Tigers to the Angels and were heavy into talks for Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis, who still is available.
Former Mets second baseman Neil Walker is still a free agent, as is old friend Jose Reyes. The Mets would like to add a veteran second baseman before spring training opens, but Harrison’s salary could give the club pause.
As for the Yankees, general manager Brian Cashman has said he is willing to go into the season with rookies Gleyber Torres at second and Miguel Andujar at third. Todd Frazier, who finished 2017 with the Yankees, is still a free agent, as is Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who could command a deal in excess of $100 million.
The Yankees have the prospects to deal for Harrison, but Cashman indicated last week he still plans to stay under the luxury-tax threshold unless it is for a truly special player such as pitcher Yu Darvish, and even that is a long shot in the Yankees’ thinking.
Bruce ‘excited to return.’ The Mets announced the Jay Bruce signing after the rightfielder passed a physical. Bruce, who agreed to a three-year, $39-million contract last week, will be re-introduced at a Citi Field news conference on Wednesday.
“I’m excited to return to the Mets to help finish what we set out to do at the beginning of last season and return to the postseason for the best fans in baseball,” Bruce said. “We have a terrific group of guys in place and I’m excited to get back to work.”
Said Mets GM Sandy Alderson: “Jay has proven to be a leader both on and off the field while continuing to produce at a high level throughout his major league career. We’re glad to have Jay back in the fold as we continue our pursuit to return to the postseason.”