What was Andrew McCutchen trying to say?
I don’t know. I don’t get it. He’s trying to say something, but I just can’t put my finger on the totality or true meaning of it.
To me, there has to be a deeper meaning in all of this.
After Monday’s game, McCutchen — a man who during his time here in Pittsburgh has chosen his words ultra-wisely — spoke up about something.
Those words were printed in Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“In order to have a good team you have to keep a core group of guys,” McCutchen said. “It’s very important to have a core and keep a core. A core doesn’t change.”
In the same story in the Trib, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle offered a bit of a retort, which he relayed to media members before Tuesday’s game against the Cubs.
“There are challenges with transition, with moving people in and out, that’s always going to happen in this game,” Hurdle said. “I think it’s interesting that players have their own perspective, their own lens. I honor that.
“Sometimes mine might not match the same way theirs do. Those are great conversations we get to have over the winter. … How do you adapt to change? [That] is probably a better question.”
For me, I still think the better question is this: What was Andrew McCutchen really trying to say when he spoke of a core group?
Because, in reading those words, I refuse to believe McCutchen was simply making a general statement or there wasn’t some deeper motive behind what he spoke.
I’ve covered the guy a long time, and if I can read Andrew McCutchen at all, I know he seldom wastes words with the media and, when he speaks on a matter not related to a specific game, they come with preplanned thought and there is always a method to his message.
This time, though, I just can’t put my finger on it — but as I said before, it just feels like there’s something deeper here.
Is this a case of McCutchen going public with a bit of an entreaty — before this offseason hits — that this organization needs to go out and get a big-time free agent pitcher because they failed to do so last offseason?
Are his words tinged with continued resentment because the club elected to trade away Neil Walker and non-tender Pedro Alvarez last offseason, two players who McCutchen was very close to and saw as part of a core in the Pirates’ return to respectability?
Is he, perhaps, miffed about Mark Melancon being traded off this season when the Pirates still had a legitimate shot at grabbing a Wild Card spot?
Is it some of that?
All of that?
None of that?
Or, could it be McCutchen’s words were a public, not-so-subtle plea by him that he doesn’t want to be traded before his contract runs out and would really like to try to hammer out a long term deal with this franchise, as he views himself as an important part of the core of this club moving forward?
This one is puzzling.
But if I know anything about McCutchen, I know his words were carefully measured and they had intentions. I just wish I could nail down, exactly, what his intentions were, because he wasn’t just making conversation.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.