Breaking News: Yankees Trade for SF Giants OF Andrew McCutchen
Late at night yesterday, the Yankees made a trade with the San Francisco Giants for their OF Andrew McCutchen. The complete details of the trade have yet to be formally announced, but a deal has been agreed to, according to Buster Onley of ESPN.
McCutchen has hit .255/.357/.415 (110 OPS+) over 130 games this season, totaling 1.7 bWAR while primarily playing RF (he has 1 appearance as a DH). In addition, he has hit 15 HR, drove in 55 runs, along with 13 SB, and a BB-K rate of 73:123.
Acquiring Cutch leads to an extreme upgrade over the Yankees current non-Stantonian RF option Shane Robinson (.156/.224/.244, 27 OPS+), and will allow for Stanton to continue in a mainly-DH role if Boone chooses to do so.Embed from Getty Images
Adding Andrew McCutchen to the team will not be a problem at all because the Yankees could easily create a spot on the 25-Man roster by DFA’ing Shane Robinson. Additionally, as I alluded to earlier, this probably means that the Yankees will employ a better DH-rotation moving forward.
Here are some of my biggest thoughts after hearing this news:
1. What are the chances that this trade is happening because of something with Aaron Judge’s wrist injury?
Given everything we know about how Judge has been very slow to recover from his wrist injury from earlier this year against the Royals, and the three-week return timetable was an extremely optimistic guess as to when he would’ve been back.
And, while the Yankees Front Office and manager Aaron Boone continually say that Aaron Judge will be back this season, it isn’t unreasonable to be a little-weary considering how wrong they were just over a month ago. (RAB put together a great post about Judge’s injury 3 days ago, if you missed it you should check it out.)
This move- in my opinion- could mean that the Yankees know something about the severity and length it will take for Judge to recover, most likely it being much longer than they want others to know. It wouldn’t be the first time a time has been trying to keep it under wraps in order to not get swindled in a deal for a replacement player. I hope Judge is able to return this season, but now that the Yankees acquired McCutchen it wouldn’t surprise me to hear soon about a different story involving Judge and his wrist.Embed from Getty Images
2. What will his number be?
I thought this would be quick and easy question to answer with almost 100% certainty: 22, and chances are it’ll still be easy to answer, but…
The last Yankee to wear 22 was/(is?) Jacoby Ellsbury, who last played in 2017 and recently had season-ending hip surgery earlier this month. Would he be willing to rent/loan out his number to Andrew McCutchen? I have no idea, and only time will tell.
However, knowing that he will not return to the field this season this is McCutchen’s final year in his current deal, I could see the Yankees/Ellsbury issuing the number 22 to McCutchen to wear for the remainder of the season. Simple enough, I hope.Embed from Getty Images
3. What should we expect the line-up to be now?
This will be my final point, as to keep this post on the simple-side (and because I have two classes in the morning), but it is always fun playing the “line-up card game” whenever a team acquires a new great player.
As I alluded to earlier, I’d be expecting Cutch to spend most of his time in RF, and Stanton to primarily play DH moving forward. However, I am wondering how Boone will stack the line-up again with a proven right-handed bat back in RF.
These are my best guesses at what we will should expect to see: (As a disclaimer, I would not agree with these lineups, I’m just taking my best guess on how Boone would set up the team.)
“1) Aaron Hicks – CF 2) Giancarlo Stanton – DH 3) Andrew McCutchen – RF 4) Miguel Andujar – 3B 5) Gleyber Torres – SS 6) Luke Voit – 1B 7) Neil Walker – 2B 8) Austin Romine – C 9) Brett Gardner – LF”
— Ethan’s Lineup vs. LHP
“1) Brett Gardner – LF 2) Giancarlo Stanton – DH 3) Aaron Hicks – CF 4) Andrew McCutchen – RF 5) Miguel Andujar – 3B 6) Neil Walker – 2B 7) Gleyber Torres – SS 8) Luke Voit – 1B 9) Romine/Higgy – C”
— Ethan’s Lineup vs. RHP
Against a LHP, the Yankees can stack extremely right-handed through almost the entire order, so there would be little to no worries about how to flip-flop the right-handed and left-handed bats in the order.
However, against a RHP, this becomes much more difficult, as the Yankees only have up to 3 lefties in the lineup at a time. A lineup with Gardner leading off (I’d much prefer Hicks, but that’s a post for another day), Hicks between Stanton and Cutch, and finally Walker between Andujar-Torres, I believe is the best way to utilize the left-handed bats in the order.
If you have a better idea on how Boone might control the order, respond in the comments and I’d love to pick your brain.
When more details come out about the trade, I’ll be sure to update this post. For now, I’m excited to see what Andrew McCutchen will do in pinstripes and that the Yankees can finally replace Robinson in their lineup.