Andrew McCutchen’s name has been thrown around as an All-Star caliber player who might be on the move.
The New York Mets, who are in the hunt for a talented center fielder, have reportedly had discussions with the Pittsburgh Pirates about what it would take to acquire McCutchen, according to the New York Daily News.
Judging by the current formation of the roster, McCutchen would be a nice fit, as the team’s current offering of Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson are all more suited to play corner outfield spots.
On Monday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that in order to pull off a deal to land McCutchen, they’d have to make three other trades. They’d first have to make separate deals to get rid of Bruce and Granderson and also would have to add a reliever if the Pirates required that Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo would have to be a part of their return for McCutchen.
In other words, the Mets would have to clear salary to have any chance at him. They have too many outfielders making too much money right now and they want their payroll decreased to $135-$140 million by Opening Day, according to the New York Daily News.
McCutchen is due to make $14 million in 2017 and the Pirates have a club option of $14.75 million on him for 2018. Judging by his past success, however, he’s being vastly underpaid in today’s new market.
The 2013 NL MVP and five-time All-Star hit just .256 with 24 homers and 79 RBI’s in what was a down year this past season. However, he holds a career .292 average and has hit 175 home runs with 637 RBI’s in 1,190 games played.
Other than the five games that he’s DH’ed, he’s played every single game of his eight-year MLB career in center field.
That’s exactly why the Mets have come calling. Not only is he a force at the plate, but he’s also a decent defender.
While it might take a lot to make the trade happen, the Mets have the prospects and the depth in their minor league system and also have a few MLB-caliber players that they can trade.
While many reports link the Mets to McCutchen, Anthony DiComo, who covers the Mets for MLB.com, offered a differing outlook at what’s happening. He wrote that the Mets expect to enter Spring Training with Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares platooning in center. Michael Conforto will also receive reps at the position in Spring Training, and he could see time there during the regular season.
He added the following statement as well: “The Mets do not view other center-field trade targets as better options than their in-house alternatives.”
While at this point we really don’t know who to trust in terms of who has the story correct, it seems as though landing a former MVP wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing for a team that has traditionally struggled offensively.
However, the real question might be why the Pirates would want to get rid of McCutchen in the first place. It will be very interesting to see what comes out of this.