The Pirates already traded Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. Josh Harrison could be next.
If the Pirates continue down the road of a rebuild, Josh Harrison doesn’t want to be a part of it.
Harrison released a statement Tuesday to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic saying that he wants to play for a winner and wants the opportunity to do so if winning isn’t in Pittsburgh’s near-term plans.
“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,” Harrison said. “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.”
The Pirates traded ace Gerrit Cole to the Astros on Saturday and then shipped Andrew McCutchen to the Giants on Monday. General manager Neal Huntington said after the McCutchen trade that he believes the team can “defy odds” in 2018 and be a competitor.
“In our minds, a rebuild implies you’re looking five years down the road,” Huntington said. He also called the moves “aggressive” but necessary for a return to the playoffs.
“The safe play would’ve been to keep (McCutchen and Cole),” Huntington said. “That’s the safe and easy play. We didn’t feel that was the right play. We feel the right play was to take these aggressive steps, to add talent to the organization, to work to get ourselves back to a postseason run.”
Harrison, who can play second, third and both corner outfield spots, has had his name surface in several trade rumors this winter. The Yankees and Mets are both in need of a second baseman, and Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday that the Brewers were interested as well.
Harrison, 29, made his major-league debut with the Pirates in 2011. He was an All-Star in 2014 and 2017, and was Pittsburgh’s most valuable position player last season by Baseball Reference’s version of WAR.
Harrison is under contract for at least one more season, with team options for 2019 and 2020.