Pirates infielder Josh Harrison, in response to Pittsburgh’s recent trades of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, said he also would prefer to be traded if the organization intends to enter a rebuilding phase.
Harrison, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Pirates, said in a statement released Tuesday to The Athletic that “perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded.”
“My passion for Pittsburgh, what it has MEANT to me, what it MEANS to me, can never be questioned,” Harrison said in his statement. “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 McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants on Monday in a deal that team chairman Bob Nutting acknowledged was “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”
Pittsburgh parted ways with McCutchen, a former National League MVP and the face of the franchise, two days after trading staff ace Cole to the Houston Astros. The Pirates received six players — either minor-league prospects or young major leaguers with little experience — combined in the two trades.
“Baseball is a business and I understand that trades are part of the business,” Harrison said. “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, 30, has one year remaining on a four-year deal he signed in 2015. He will make $10 million this season, and the Pirates also have club options on his contract — worth $10.5 million and $11.5 million, respectively — for 2019 and 2020.
Harrison is a two-time All-Star who primarily has played second base and third base but also has spent time in the outfield. He batted .272 with a career-high 16 home runs last season.