A day after the deal went through, fans launched a petition on Change.org imploring Major League Baseball to force Pirates owner Bob Nutting to sell the team. The petition was seeking 50,000 signatures as of Wednesday evening -- more than 36,000 people had signed as of 8:30 p.m. ET.
"Pittsburgh is a baseball town that is being destroyed by a greedy owner. There are so many loyal fans who truly care and support this team through thick and thin. We deserve better," the petition reads. "Bob Nutting needs to sell this team, so that we can see a competitive baseball team year in and year out. It is obvious that he doesn't want to spend the money to make that happen. We need an owner who has a competitive spirit and loves the game of baseball!"
For his part, Nutting described trading McCutchen as "one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure." Nutting took over as the team's principal owner in January 2007.
Players also have spoken out against the Pirates' moves, with veteran Josh Harrison saying Tuesday he would prefer to be traded if the team is headed toward a rebuild.
"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," Harrison said in a statement to The Athletic. "I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer."
The Pirates finished 75-87 last season, failing to make the postseason for the second consecutive year after reaching the playoffs each season from 2013-15.
--Field Level Media