Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen have already found new homes. Second baseman Josh Harrison is the next guy to leave the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Milwaukee Brewers have a need at second base. Could Harrison head to Milwaukee in the next few days?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have made two significant trades this off season, giving two of their franchise players in starting pitcher Gerrit Cole and outfielder Andrew McCutchen. This is a clear indication that the Pirates do not expect to be contending next season. The tear down isn’t complete yet, so the rebuild has yet to begin.
This means that other big names in Pittsburgh could be up for grabs, which would open the door for Josh Harrison to go next. If the Pirates are willing to give him up, he would be an intriguing option for the Milwaukee Brewers to pursue.
How did Harrison do in 2017?
Harrison played in 128 games last season posting a .272/.339/.372 slash line with 16 home runs and 12 stolen bases. While he may not maintain a high OBP, Harrison can bat near the top of the order and rack up hits.
Harrison is also a versatile and capable defender. He played third base and the outfield along with spending a lot of time at second base during the 2017 season. At second base he had a .981 fielding percentage in 83 games, and a .966 fielding percentage in 49 games at third base. His ability to play third could come in handy if Travis Shaw needed a day off.
What would a deal for Harrison look like?
The Milwaukee Brewers could likely add Harrison without dealing any top 15 prospects, if they take on most of his salary. Harrison is owed $10 million in 2018 with a pair of option years worth $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020. His paycheck isn’t a roadblock to a deal.
The Brewers have prospects, and the Pirates are looking to rebuild. It really does make sense for both teams. Flipping a prospect like Trent Grisham, who appears trapped in Single-A, for Harrison could be more than enough to get a deal completed quickly.
Trading for Harrison makes a lot of sense for the rebuilding Brewers. Dealing for him would add another versatile defensive player and a capable bat to the top of their lineup. The only concern is that it would leave prospect Mauricio Dubon without an obvious path to a job. However, if Dubon is really that good, he’ll force his way into the Milwaukee Brewers infield.