After clearing waivers Andrew McCutchen was finally traded on the last day of August. The New York Yankees acquired McCutchen just in time to be eligible for the playoff roster. The Giants received prosepcts Abiatal Avelino and Juan de Paula in return and will pay about half of McCutchen’s remaining salary.
Yankees bolster their outfield
McCutchen has put up good numbers this year with a .772 OPS but there is an argument that he has been slightly unlucky. His slugging percentage is a career low at .415 but his hard hit rate is a career high at 41.4%. This could be explained by moving to the extremely pitcher friendly AT&T Park. Now that McCutchen will be playing at Yankee Stadium instead he should start getting the results that he deserves.
Even if McCutchen’s results do not improve he will provide depth to the Yankees injury ravaged outfield. Aaron Judge has been out for about a week and should be back in time for the postseason. Adding McCutchen will allow the Yankees to bring Judge back when he is ready even if that means missing a few postseason games. They will also hope that McCutchen can provide an offensive spark before Judge returns. The Yankees badly need to turn the direction of the team around after dropping out of contention for the AL East title. McCutchen can be the man to do that with both his bat and his personality.
After Judge returns McCutchen could move back to centre field and would add depth to the lineup whether he bats in front of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton or behind them.
Giants look to 2019
The two prospects going to San Francisco represent a good return for the Giants. Avelino posted a .945 OPS in AA this year and is a good offensive shortstop but has struggled at AAA. Juan de Paula, a 20 year old pitcher, has posted a 2.49 ERA across four seasons in the low minors and struck out just below a batter an inning.
This trade has brought two high ceiling prospects to the Giants but the main motivation for the Giants will have been salary relief. Ordinarily the $1.5 million dollars saved by this trade would not matter to a Franchise the size of the Giants but this year is different. With a big free agency class this winter many of the big market teams are desperate to stay under the luxury tax threshold. By trading McCutchen the Giants now have room under the tax threshold to promote the prospects that they want in preperation for 2019. In fact Chris Shaw and Aramis Garcia have already been promoted to the big league team. Chris Shaw will take most of McCutchen’s at bats.
Move works for McCutchen
Despite McCutchen’s individual success in Pittsburgh he has never been past the Division series and has only been that far once. Most baseball fans would agree that McCutchen deserves a run deep into October and this season is his best opportunity to do that so far. On top of this the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium gives McCutchen an opportunity to have a dominant couple of months leading up to free agency. Despite losing his beard this move can only be a good thing for McCutchen’s career.