Josh Harrison wants to play for a winner. In a statement released Tuesday to The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ All-Star, super-utility man responded to the team’s trades of pitcher Gerrit Cole and center fielder Andrew McCutchen by saying he would prefer to be traded if the team does not expect to contend in 2018 or ‘19. “Over the last week, many have asked me how I felt about first the trade of Gerrit and now, the trade of Andrew. My focus has been on my family, my training and my camp with my brother Vince on Martin Luther King Day. It is now time to respond,” Harrison said. “Baseball is a business and I understand that trades are part of the business. 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. “My passion for Pittsburgh, what it has MEANT to me, what it MEANS to me, can never be questioned. 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.” Pirates officials, despite the comment Harrison referenced from general manager Neal Huntington, do not necessarily view their immediate future as bleak. After trading McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants on Monday, they suggested the Pirates still might surprise, citing the team’s 94-win breakthrough in ‘13, which ended a streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons and produced the first of three straight postseason appearances. The trades for Cole and McCutchen yielded at least three players who figure to be part of the Pirates’ Opening Day roster. A number of talented others — Harrison, center fielder Starling Marte, right fielder Gregory Polanco, closer Felipe Rivero and right-handers Jameson Taillon — remain with the club.
Josh Harrison wants to be traded if Pirates not serious about contending
The Athletic | Jan 16