In a move that wasn’t theorized to be as likely as a trade for Curtis Granderson, the Yankees pulled the trigger on a deal for former MVP and 5-time All-Star Andrew McCutchen of the San Francisco Giants. The Yankees have been rumored to be on the prowl for an outfielder that could provide a full month of play and serve as an insurance policy against another injury or slower than expected rehabilitation time for any of their recovering stars, as reported at NJ Advance Media.
At 31 and currently in the walk year of his contract, McCutchen is currently mired in what is arguably his worst statistical season since his rookie year. He is still posting a wholly respectable slash line, it just isn’t the type of numbers he has been known for posting. Still, it has raised some questions as to why he was general manager Brian Cashman’s choice to reel in.
The simplest answer is likely multifaceted. The biggest thing is that he is healthy, and has been for most of his career. Right now, a healthy outfielder is like gold to the Yankees, with Aaron Judge taking much longer than expected to heal. Another reason is that he was affordable. McCutchen is coming in for the price of two minor league players, neither rumored to be a serious prospect. The identity of one player is known, according to NJ Advance Media.
“One will be Scranton/Wilkes-Barre infielder Abiatal Avelino, who has hit.287 with 15 homers and 66 RBI in 123 games this season playing for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Avelino was ranked as the Yankees’ 23rd-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.”
The second player has not been named yet, but it is thought he will be no higher rated than Avelino, and will most likely be a ball starting pitcher. The final piece of the pie is that even though McCutchen earns $14.75 million this year, the Pirates are paying $2 million of that off the top, leaving the Yankees to pick up the tab on about $2.45 million, although no word has been given on whether San Francisco is sending any money with him yet.
So long as all involved parties pass their physical, the deal should be officially finalized within hours. It has already been reported to the Commissioner’s Office, so McCutchen will be eligible to appear on the postseason roster. He is expected to join the team immediately and will likely start tonight, playing as a regular until Judge returns from the DL.
This move puts the Yankees in a bit of a more flexible spot as it will mean Neil Walker no longer has to play right, and light-hitting Shane Robinson can return to being used as a defensive replacement or be optioned to AAA to make room on the roster for someone else. Giancarlo Stanton can also remain in the DH slot, continuing to rest his legs until he is 100 percent again.