New York Mets trade rumors have the team trying to acquire Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates. MLB analysts had suggested that this was a deal that could work for both teams, with the Pirates freeing up some salary and getting prospects in return. A report by the New York Daily News confirms that discussions between the Mets and Pirates are now officially taking place.
This may come as a surprise to Mets fans, as earlier trade discussions with the Pirates about McCutchen didn't lead to a deal. Now, the teams are revisiting the negotiations, raising additional MLB trade rumors about what the Mets would do with the other outfielders currently on the roster. If the Mets do make a deal to acquire McCutchen, then it likely means the end of Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce in New York.
There have been a number of New York Mets trade rumors centering around the situation in the outfield this offseason. The team made a huge move by re-signing Yoenis Cespedes to a long-term contract, keeping the core of the batting order intact for the 2017 MLB season. Since then, the Mets have been exploring options to add to the lineup, which linked the team to the Pittsburgh Pirates when Andrew McCutchen actively got shopped around the league.
For the 2017 MLB season, the Mets currently (already) have one of the highest paid outfields in the league. An updated report on the Mets' salaries has Yoenis Cespedes at $22.5 million, Curtis Granderson at $15 million, and Jay Bruce at $13 million. The problem is that the three players are best suited to play corner outfield slots next season, which is presumably where McCutchen would also play for the Mets. The team also has Juan Lagares ready to play center field again.
It is unclear what Pittsburgh is looking to acquire from New York, but the team had been looking to gain more young pitching. If Pittsburgh is also willing to take on some salary in a deal, then it would make the situation easier for the teams to match up in a trade. None of the trade offers that have surfaced from other teams have suggested that any MLB teams are willing to offer a package of players that the Pirates are happy with. Some MLB analysts have suggested that teams are looking for a "bargain" with McCutchen.
During the 2016 MLB season, Andrew McCutchen struggled to stay healthy, posting statistics that weren't on par with what he had posted previously as an All-Star. In 675 plate appearances, McCutchen had just 153 hits, working out to a 0.256 batting average. McCutchen also had a 0.336 on-base percentage and an OPS of 0.766 for the season. Within his counting stats, McCutchen had 24 home runs, 79 RBIs, 81 runs scored, and six stolen bases. Those aren't typically numbers that lead to a package of elite prospects from the trade market.
It is clear that most teams expressing interest in Andrew McCutchen are looking at past performances and hoping he can return to form during the 2017 MLB season. McCutchen won the 2013 National League MVP with a 0.317 batting average, a 0.404 on-base percentage, 21 home runs, 84 RBIs, 27 stolen bases, and great defense in center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over a three-year span, McCutchen also led the National League in WAR for offensive players.
McCutchen just turned 30, so he may have a lot of baseball left in his future. He is signed through just the 2018 MLB season, earning $14 million in the upcoming season and then having a team option worth $14.75 million in 2018. It also comes with a $1 million buyout if his skills do continue to dip. These latest New York Mets trade rumors indicate the team has hopes that he can get back to being an All-Star caliber outfielder, and they have become more serious about possibly acquiring him soon.
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