MLB Rumors: Latest on Possible Andrew McCutchen Trade, Braves Managerial Search

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2016

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Major League Baseball's postseason is officially underway after the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night. 

While there are only nine teams remaining ahead of Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game between the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets, 21 other teams have officially set their sights toward next spring. 

Whether it's in the field or in the dugout, here is the latest on baseball's biggest rumors.

   

Andrew McCutchen Could Be Shipped from Pittsburgh

For the better part of seven years, center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise and gone through the peaks and valleys of a franchise that's fluctuated from mediocrity to playoff contender. 

The five-time All-Star was the 2013 National League MVP and is currently fifth on the Pirates' all-time home run list. But there has been a growing suspicion that Pittsburgh could deal McCutchen out of town sooner rather than later. 

According to former New York Mets general manager and MLB Network Radio analyst Jim Duquette (via Rob Biertempfel of TribLive.com): "There are people I've talked to who are convinced the Pirates are going to trade McCutchen this winter."

While his numbers were still productive, McCutchen did see a noticeable dip in his play in a 2016 season that ended just eight days before his 30th birthday:

Andrew McCutchen Stats Split
Stat2011-15 Averages2016
Average.302.256
Home Runs24.624
RBI89.679
Strikeouts120.8143
Stolen Bases19.86
Baseball-Reference.com

McCutchen's contract is up in 2017—he is owed $14 million—although he has a $14.5 million club option in 2018, per Spotrac.

Dealing McCutchen before he hits free agency will eliminate the chance of not getting anything for him if he does decide to walk come next winter. And given his sudden decrease in production in 2016, it might be a sell-high opportunity for the Pirates to retool the roster and acquire some young pieces to build a contender around. 

Per Biertempfel, one American League scout said that McCutchen could garner "two good prospects." But if there is a large market interested in him, Pittsburgh's return could become much more if it does indeed make McCutchen available. 

   

Candidates for Braves Job Surfacing

Bud Black
Bud BlackDenis Poroy/Getty Images

Times for Atlanta Braves are certainly different compared to the team that won 14 straight divisional titles from 1991-2005. 

For the second straight year, Atlanta lost over 90 games, including a last-place finish in the NL East this season. 

The franchise gave former manager Fredi Gonzalez a short leash, firing him 37 games into the season after a 9-28 start. 

Interim manager Brian Snitker went 59-65, which was far more respectable for a struggling roster. However, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that Snitker is "not automatic" to get the job next season. 

Two names that have surfaced for the job are Bud Black and Ron Washington, per Rosenthal—two men with substantial managing experience in the majors. 

Black spent nine seasons with the San Diego Padres, compiling a 649-713 record. He was voted the 2010 NL Manager of the Year after leading the Padres to a 90-72 record but never made the postseason. 

Washington, on the other hand, won a pair of American League pennants in seven-plus seasons with the Texas Rangers from 2007-14. 

He collected five winning seasons—90-plus victories in four of them—and that has seemingly made him an early favorite for the job. 

Per Rosenthal, Washington is set to interview with the team on Wednesday and has a friend in the front office in John Hart, who is Atlanta's president of baseball operations and worked with the former Rangers manager in Texas. 

     

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com. 

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