felipe rivero-pittsburgh pirates-andrew mccutchen

On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates officially committed to rebuilding. Two days after dealing staff ace Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros, general manager Neal Huntington flipped franchise face Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants. Just like that, a franchise that recently went more than 20 years without a .500 season appears headed back to the basement.

That news does not seem to be sitting well with 26-year-old closer Felipe Rivero, who tweeted a facepalm emoji shortly after the McCutchen trade was announced, then followed up with a Jim Halpert “What is going on?” gif.

Rivero, like many Pirates partisans, is likely dismayed to see the team trade a former MVP who has spent his entire career in town and emerged as an all-time fan favorite.

Though it’s always interesting when athletes publicly question their own franchises, this occasion is particularly noteworthy because less than an hour after Rivero’s tweets, Ken Rosenthal and others reported that the pitcher had just signed a four-year contract extension. That means Rivero is locked into Pittsburgh through at least 2021, which should coincide with what looks like a full-scale rebuild.

That certainly helps explain why he was so upset with the McCutchen trade.

It sure seems Rivero didn’t know what direction the Pirates were headed when he signed that deal. Luckily for him, he’s a solid reliever pitching on a team-friendly contract for a rebuilding team, which means he’ll surely be on the trade market come July.

Though tearing everything down might make make sense for the Pirates, this whole situation is sub-optimal from a PR perspective. The team probably hoped Rivero’s extension would slightly appease fans angry about the McCutchen trade. Instead, the closer himself became one of the team’s toughest critics.

Opening Day is only two and a half months away. Get pumped, Pirates fans!

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.