Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Men of Winter Dismantle the Boys of Summer

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Men of Winter Dismantle the Boys of Summer

Article excerpt

On a frigid January night, Pittsburgh's summer changed.

As snow and darkness fell Monday, the Pirates executed a trade to send Andrew McCutchen, the face of their franchise, to the San Francisco Giants.

The move, two days after the Pirates parted with Gerrit Cole in a five-player trade, signaled general manager Neal Huntington's ongoing effort to dismantle a veteran core to cut payroll, restock the minor league system and rebuild the roster to contend down the road.

The McCutchen era ended 13 years and three playoff appearances after the Pirates drafted him. No longer will he wear No. 22 for the Pirates. No longer will he call PNC Park's center field home. Mr. McCutchen - the first-round pick who was the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player; the husband whose wife, Maria, is a Western Pennsylvania native; the father who named his baby Steel - is a Giant.

"Pittsburgh. My Home. My Fans. My City," Mr. McCutchen, 31, wrote on Twitter. "The [place] that raised me and helped mold me into the man I am today. You will [for]ever be in my heart. A tip of the cap to all who have been on this journey with me.

"With Love and respect,

"Cutch."

In December, during an "Ask Pirates Management" session at PiratesFest, a boy named Jack approached the microphone and delivered the first question. "What's your mindset for trading Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole?" he asked, drawing laughter and applause.

"Jack, I'm not a coffee drinker," Mr. Huntington replied, "but that just hit me as hard as a cup of coffee would."

Five weeks later, Mr. McCutchen, the Pirates' best player, and Mr. Cole, their best starting pitcher, are gone. Mr. Cole was shipped to the Houston Astros on Saturday for four players, and Mr. McCutchen went to San Francisco for pitcher Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds. Minutes after Mr. McCutchen was informed of the trade, reports surfaced that Mr. Huntington, his sights now firmly on the future, inked closer Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension.

This day was coming. Trade or no trade, Mr. McCutchen's contract expires after the 2018 season. In informal discussions, Mr. …

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