The Baltimore Orioles would do well not to look to the Pittsburgh Pirates as an example of how to rebuild. Many folks want to see the Orioles do what Pittsburgh did with Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. However look closely at those trades – please.
Pittsburgh in essence allowed themselves to get fleeced. They traded Cole and McCutchen to Houston and San Francisco respectively. And in return for the two of them they received six players. All are either young minor league prospects, or young major leaguers with little experience.
This reaks of a team that desperately wanted to just rid themselves of players who may or may not be a part of their future. Having said that, McCutchen was the face of that franchise – very much in the tradition of Adam Jones with the Orioles. On top of that, he’s a Pittsburgh native. It’s not often that a player of his caliber comes along who’s literally from your city. And they traded him away.
Again, that’s what they felt like they needed to do to make their team better in the long run. And perhaps time and consequence will prove them to be right. However outwardly, it appears that they simply took whatever Houston and San Francisco were willing to offer them.
So…do fans really want the Orioles to take that route? Sure they wouldn’t have to worry about the Machado saga anymore, and sure some would argue that getting something (anything) is better than getting nothing. But is it really worth getting pennies on the dollar? Because from my standpoint right now at this moment, that’s what Pittsburgh got for a perennial all-star center fielder and an ace pitcher.
I suppose the point here is that the Orioles are steadfast in what they want and expect in return for their players. Former GM Andy MacPhail once said that he wouldn’t allow other teams to undervalue their players. It appears that’s what Pittsburgh’s brass allowed Houston and San Francisco to do. And go figure, McCutchen will now return to PNC Park, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, to play against his former team as a member of the Giants.