Pirates' Harrison prefers trade over rebuild


Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Josh Harrison said he would rather be traded than play for a rebuilding team in the wake of the Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen trades.

Harrison released a statement to The Athletic on Tuesday, one day after McCutchen was dealt to the San Francisco Giants. Cole was shipped to the Houston Astros on Saturday.

"While I love this game, the reality is that I just lost two of my closest friends in the game," Harrison said. "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.

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"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."

Harrison, 30, is due $10.25 million in the final guaranteed season of a four-year extension he signed in 2015. His contract includes club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and 2020 ($11.5 million).

A two-time All-Star, including last season, Harrison hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 home runs, 47 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 128 games for the Pirates in 2017. He primarily plays second base for Pittsburgh, though he has seen time at every position except first base, center field and catcher during his major league career.

Harrison made his MLB debut with the Pirates in 2011 and has been with the team since.

"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."

The New York Mets, New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers are among teams to reportedly have interest in Harrison.

The small-market Pirates finished 75-87 last season, failing to make the postseason for the second consecutive year after doing so from 2013-15.

--Field Level Media

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