If you are a Bradenton resident who is a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays and also enjoys watching the Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring training games at LECOM Park, both teams have traded their most popular player to the San Francisco Giants this offseason.
The Pirates confirmed Monday evening what had been reported earlier by ESPN and other outlets — they have agreed to trade former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen to the Giants. The 31-year-old outfielder is entering the final year of his contract and is slated to make $14.5 million this year.
In exchange, the team acquired pitcher Kyle Crick, minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international bonus pool space. The trade is pending the completion of a physical.
The Athletic was first to report the deal.
The move comes less than a month after San Francisco acquired former All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman Evan Longoria in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
In a release Monday, Pirates’ Chairman Bob Nutting called the McCutchen trade one of the most “emotionally agonizing decisions” that the organization has had to make in his tenure.
“I was there for his first workout at Pirate City in Bradenton. Even as a teenager his smile and energy were infectious. His talent was on full display for our fans from the moment he made his major league debut; to the signing of his contract extension; to his MVP season in 2013 and his leadership role in our three straight postseason appearances,” Nutting said in the release.
“Andrew helped create so many special memories both on and off the field for me, our organization and our fans. He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace. He will be forever appreciated and celebrated by the Pirates organization. I want to thank Andrew and Maria for all they have done for the Pirates organization. We wish them and their family nothing but the best.”
McCutchen helped revive the Pirates’ franchise and led the organization to three consecutive postseason appareances from 2013-15. McCutchen batted .279 with 28 home runs and 88 RBIs last season. He has been with the team for nine seasons.
The Pirates have been busy, trading ace Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros just two days ago, one of the first signals of the team’s rebuilding efforts.
Hunter Pence, San Francisco’s veteran right-fielder, welcomed McCutchen to the team in a tweet on Monday.
“It’s no secret that we were looking to further add run production to our lineup,” said Brian Sabean, Giants executive vice president of baseball operations. “Anytime you have the opportunity to bring aboard someone with such a track record, you have to jump on it.”
McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP, may take over in center from Denard Span, who was traded to the Rays in the Longoria deal, or he could slide to an outfield corner. San Francisco wanted more production from the outfield after a last-place season in the NL West.
“Andrew is a dynamic player on the field and will be a leader in our clubhouse,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s always been a threat at the plate and he’s a guy you don’t ever want to deal with whether he’s at the plate or on the bases. He’s going to make something happen.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.