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For the last half-decade, Andrew McCutchen has been unaminously mentioned as one of the best all-around players in all of baseball. He's won an MVP, finished in the top-five three other times, and has made five All-Star Games. Obviously, his offensive prowess is a huge part of that reputation, but his defense in center field has played a big role as well. For the last eight years, he's been one of the better center fielders in the game. Last year, he started showing signs of decline in both phases of the game. Now, the team has decided it's time for him to pass the torch in center field
Over the weekend, it came out that the Pirates are planning to play Starling Marte in McCutchen's center field. It's not a move that's likely to bring much controversy -- McCutchen's given us little reason to believe he'd make this into a big deal -- but it's jarring in the context of the league over the last few years. Seeing McCutchen in a corner spot just won't feel right. On the other hand, Marte is plenty athletic to handle the position, and has done well in left field since coming up. It makes sense that he'll get this chance. Plus, even with their new alignment the great McCutchen/Marte/Gregory Polanco outfield will live on.
And yet, this could be the beginning of the end of a more important era. Throughout this offseason, there were rumors of McCutchen trade talks with teams around the league. Pittsburgh never found a deal with which they were comfortable, but perhaps this is a chance to give teams a look at the star in a more favorable position. McCutchen leaving center field is weird enough, so hopefully this doesn't mean he'll be leaving Pittsburgh soon as well.
- The Cardinals aren't going to fire Mike Matheny, but they should consider it and then turn Gabe Kapler into the manager's version of Billy Beane.
- Jason Hammel has finally found a home, agreeing to a two-year deal with the Royals.
- The Dodgers are probably the best fit for Sergio Romo, which is a fact Giants fans will have to bedrudgingly accept.
- Cleveland signed Boone Logan, who is an absolutely perfect fit with their bullpen. Sorry, American League.
- Speaking of bullpen help, the Blue Jays signed Joe Smith. Believe it or not, he's more than just a bland name.
- The Rockies could use a first baseman, and Byung Ho Park is on waivers. Do the math, people.
- No, the A's are not going to be good in 2017. That doesn't mean they won't be interesting.
- A Padres fan wants to throw out the first pitch. The Padres will let him...for a price.
- Should the Yankees target former division rival Matt Wieters?
- The Tigers are going with a stars and scrubs approach, but it could work.
- Joc Pederson predicted the unlikely and thrilling ending to Sunday night's Super Bowl.