Seattle Mariners trade rumors have shifted to include All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen. The Mariners could look to add another outfield bat during the upcoming MLB offseason, and it has become clear that the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for a trading partner. A report from ESPN states that the odds of the Pirates making a trade that includes McCutchen are increasing as the days go by. The reasoning is that the Pirates have a lot of young outfield depth, making the veteran expendable.
So what does this all mean for the Seattle Mariners? There are going to be a number of trade rumors as the offseason begins, with every team needing help in the outfield getting linked to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Andrew McCutchen. If the new ownership for the Mariners wants to make a particularly big “splash” during the MLB offseason, trading for a “name” like McCutchen could certainly do the trick. It would also spark additional excitement for a fan base that is extremely disappointed with the way the 2016 MLB season ended.
Andrew McCutchen is 29-years-old and has played eight seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates. McCutchen is under contract for $14 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $14.75 million in 2018. This is a reason he has surfaced in Seattle Mariners trade rumors, as he would remain under team control for two more seasons. This could allow the Mariners to bat him second in the lineup, right in front of All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz.
After four consecutive years of winning a Silver Slugger Award in the outfield, McCutchen struggled through injuries during the 2016 MLB season. He finished with a 0.256 batting average, a 0.766 OPS, 24 home runs, and 79 RBIs. His 162-game averages are at a 0.292 batting average, 0.869 OPS, 24 home runs, and 87 RBIs. While McCutchen’s power numbers remained consistent, he struggled to get on base as often as in the past. His walks also dropped from 98 in 2015 to just 69 in 2016, while his strikeouts increased at a rate that has to be quelled.
A down year by McCutchen could make him more affordable on the trade market, even though it will still be an expensive acquisition for any club. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not desperate to make a move, but already have McCutchen’s replacement coming up through the minor leagues. Thus, the bottom line is that Pittsburgh could benefit by dealing an outfielder with an eight-figure salary, especially if it brings back talent at other positions that could help enhance the Minor League system.
The Seattle Mariners failed to find consistency at the top of the batting order, with many different players rotating through the leadoff position. Ketel Marte, Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, Seth Smith, Guillermo Heredia, Shawn O’Malley, and even Dan Robertson saw opportunities during the 2016 MLB season. It continued a trend since Ichiro Suzuki got traded to the New York Yankees and highlights something that has become a problem for the team. The No. 2 slot has been equally bad, with an even greater rotation of players getting tried out.
Life for Mariners manager Scott Servais could get much easier if the front office acquired two hitters to slot at the top of the lineup every night. Having someone like Andrew McCutchen hitting in front of Robinson Cano could certainly give the team a huge boost on offense. Putting McCutchen in the outfield would also help improve the team on defense, which is an area where the Mariners struggled. While it is unclear what the Seattle Mariners could offer the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade, it is certainly something general manager Jerry Dipoto needs to fully explore.
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