Scouting The Trade Market: Andrew McCutchen

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(Photo Credit: Flickr user Brock Fleeger via Creative Commons license)

The Yankees have focused on improving their starting rotation this offseason and rightfully so. Even with Freddy Garcia back in the fold, they still stand to open the season with no fewer than two question marks in the rotation, and it’s really more like four question marks behind undisputed ace CC Sabathia. Just because the rotation needs help doesn’t mean the rest of the team gets ignored though, and just because the offense is a strength doesn’t mean it can’t be further improved.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Pirates are open to listening to trade offers for center fielder Andrew McCutchen, a report the team unsurprisingly denied a few hours later. The two sides discussed about a long-term contract extension earlier this year, though talks slowed during the summer and there haven’t been any reports of progress lately. A player of McCutchen’s caliber fits on pretty much every team, regardless of who they already have in the outfield. Rather than do the usual Pros & Cons shtick, I’m going to break his game down into the three basic parts of baseball: offense, defense, and baserunning. Let’s start with the bat…

Offense

Since breaking into the league in June of 2009, McCutchen has consistently produced about 25% better than league average with the bat. In fact, his wRC+’s by year from 2009-2011 are 125, 125, and 129. It all starts with his approach at the plate. McCutchen works deep counts, having seen 4.18 pitches per plate appearance this past season (12th highest in baseball) and 4.10 for his career. That’s Kevin Youkilis (4.18 in 2011) and Nick Swisher (4.07) territory. Those deep counts lead to a lot of walks — including 13.1% this past season (16th highest in baseball, right behind Youkilis) and 11.7% for his career — but surprisingly not many strikeouts, just 18.6% this year and 16.3% for his career.

McCutchen started to hit more line drives and fly balls this past season, resulting in more power (.198 ISO and 23 homers) but a slightly lower BABIP (.291 after .318 from 2009-2010). After hitting .286 in each of his first two seasons, his average dropped to .259 in 2011 thanks to a late-season slump (.196/.321/.384 in his final 35 games). Like most hitters, he does most of his damage to the pull side, but he can drive the ball with authority to right and right-center. Here’s proof. His spray chart show plenty of balls driven right to the wall to all fields throughout his career…

(via Texas Leaguers)

McCutchen does show a bit of a platoon split, but it’s nothing crazy. He’s posted a .397 wOBA with a .231 ISO against left-handers in his career, but against right-handers those numbers are .347 and .166, respectively. That’s not a major red flag because the performance against same-side pitcher is still above-average. At this point in time right now, McCutchen is a legitimate .275/.365/.450 hitter (.277/.368/.455 career), a level of performance roughly 25 others have been able to maintain over the last three seasons.

Defense

McCutchen is a great example of how flawed defensive metrics still are. They’ve gotten better, but none of them are perfect. All the systems rated him as well below average from 2009-2010, including UZR (-15.0), DRS (-18), Total Zone (-5), and FRAA (-23.7), but they all changed gears and considered him above-average in 2011 (+3.5, +7, +9, and +9.6 respectively). The improvement had nothing to do with McCutchen himself, he’s still the same defensive player he always was. The improvement came from the team’s manager.

Under former skipper John Russell, the Pirates’ outfield used to play what was best described as a no-triples alignment. They played deep with the left and center fielders shaded towards the left-center field gap, the big part of PNC Park. Matt Bandi spent quite a bit of time looking at the club’s outfield alignments at the now-defunct Pittsburgh Lumber Co. Russell was fired last offseason and replaced with Clint Hurdle, who had his outfielders play at more traditional depths and positions.

McCutchen’s defense wasn’t the problem, the metrics were just unable to properly measure his contributions in the no-triples alignment. Baseball America (subs. req’d) said he was a “a potential Gold Glover” with “outstanding instincts and an average arm in center field” before the 2009 season, the last time McCutchen was prospect-eligible. I suspect the advanced metrics will match up with that scouting report in the coming years, as the sample size continues to grow.

Baserunning

(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Although he’s stolen at least 22 bases in his three seasons, including 33 in 2010, McCutchen isn’t the most efficient baserunner. He’s been thrown out exactly ten times each of the last two seasons (56-for-76), a 73.7% success rate that is above the break-even point but not exactly stellar. His 75.0% success rate in the minors suggests he might not get much better than he is right now.

Stolen bases are just part of the baserunning equation though. McCutchen has been able to take the extra base 40% of the time his career, which is essentially the same as the 41% league average. Baseball Prospectus’ baserunning stats say he was a bit below-average at advancing on ground balls, sacrifice flies, and on wild pitches/passed balls this past season, but he was above-average in 2010 and 2009 as well. Either McCutchen suddenly forgot how to run the bases in those situations in 2011, or the data is imperfect. I tend to believe the latter is true.

Smash it all together — stealing bases, taking the extra base on hits, moving up on other balls in play/wild pitches/passed balls — and McCutchen is essentially a league average baserunner. For what it’s worth, FanGraphs’ catch-all baserunning data says he’s been a touch better than average in each of his three seasons. If you’re going to be bad at something, baserunning is a good thing to be bad at.

* * *

Just a few weeks after his 25th birthday, McCutchen is already a true franchise player, a guy that impacts the game on both sides of the ball while playing a premium up-the-middle position. He’s never been on the disabled list, not even in the minors, and thanks to some service time shenanigans he won’t be eligible for arbitration until next season and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. That’s four full years of team control left.

A near six-win player in the eyes of both both fWAR (5.7) and bWAR (5.5) this past season, there are few players in the game with more trade value than McCutchen. Obviously, any team hoping to trade for him would need to really blow the Pirates out of the water. A trade involving a star player in his pre-arbitration years is unprecedented, so we don’t have any kind of reference for what a potential trade package would look like. I imagine any teams that call Pittsburgh would start negotiations by opening up their farm system and saying “okay, pick any four.”

Please understand that I’ve set you (and myself) up for extreme disappointment. It’s highly unlikely that the Yankees or any other team will be able to pry McCutchen away from Pittsburgh this offseason, just like no one was able to pry The Justin Upton away from the Diamondbacks last winter despite his reported availability. But man, if the Pirates are sincerely willing to listen the offers … the Yankees should be all over this. Acquiring McCutchen is both a win-now and win-later move.

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Trading with the NL
Sick of this.
  • http://www.thefatladyblog.com JoshTFL

    don’t tease me, bro.

  • http://www.twitter.com/vscafuto Vinny Scafuto

    You’d figure any trade offer would have to start with either Gardner or Swisher, and one of the B’s. Plus Romine or Cervelli.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I was thinking Montero, Banuelos, plus.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Ouch!

      • thenamestsam

        You’d almost certainly want to move one of the outfielders in the trade. Do you think something like Montero and Gardner gets your foot in the door? I’m really not sure how Gardner’s value is perceived around the league. By WAR he’s basically as good as McCutchen and only a couple closer to free agency, but I don’t think he has anywhere near the same value.

        Otherwise you could do something like Montero and Banuelos and then deal either Gardner or Swisher to get back some prospects to restock the upper levels. Or maybe a three team deal might be the way to go.

      • MattG

        Montero and Banuelos should get it done…from both sides.

        The only hiccup is the Yankees will need a deal for Swisher in their hip pocket first, and the Yankees might have to take Barajas.

        • Preston

          Without Montero Swisher could DH most days and be the fourth outfielder backup 1B man.

          • MannyGeee

            oh noez!!!! hes a bad hitter in october!!! worst DH EVERRRRRRR!

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        That.

        If only we could borrow a crystal ball from one of those commenters who seems to know the future all the time. We could then figure out if Mason Williams is on his way to becoming this.

      • Brian in NH

        Has to be Montero, Gardner and either ManBan or possibly Betances.

    • Steve

      Why would Swisher interest Pitt at all? He has one year at 10 mil left on his deal.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Because there’s people here who think Swisher is worthless to them, but worth a ton of gold to anyone else in a trade.

        • Plank

          I feel like people are down on Swisher because they remember corner outfielders as huge immobile OPS machines from 5-10 years ago and forget that the league has shifted to valuing defense more and hitting is down league-wide. Since Gardner is the other COF most people see and he gets a pass cause he’s not a “conventional” COF, people think they should have Manny or Bonds* in the other COF spot. Those players are getting rarer and rarer.

          Ok, my ramblings are over, go about your business.

          *Not that Bonds wasn’t impressive with the leather. (And yes, I realize they were both LF)

    • MONKEYJAW

      Not even close. The Pirates aren’t taking on Swisher’s money (even for a year) and Cervelli would be nothing more than a throw-in. I think Mike is right; Man-Ban and Montero would start the conversation. A deal like this would take a chunk out of the farm and those pieces are probably best saved for A caliber pitching. Although, being the prospect hugger that I am, I’d probably rather keep the kids.

  • Nick87

    I doubt you have set people up for extreme disappointment. I think most people reading this will know we have no chance.

    • Jim Is Bored

      “I think most people reading this will know we have no chance.”

      …I wish that were true.

    • Slugger27

      you must be new here.

  • Rich in NJ

    Any non-Montero package would interest me.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/NorthYorkJays NorthYorkJays

    Any non-Montero package wouldn’t interest PIT.

    • Rich in NJ

      Then pass.

      • Johnny O

        Really? McCutchen is significantly more valuable and proven than Jesus. And CF vs. DH is no contest. This is obviously far fetched, but you’re not trading for a one year rental – he has FOUR YEARS of control left.

        I’d be fine giving up Jesus, one of Manny/Dellin (preferrably Dellin), and Gardner, plus another B prospect.

        I think this article is evidence of the slow Hot Stove League this year and fun to dream about but Pittsburgh won’t trade McCutchen.

        • Rich in NJ

          Really, I wouldn’t trade him. His ability to hit for power to RF with NYS’s dimensions and that he will be cost-controlled for six years make him untradeable, IMO. I also think he can catch 80 games a year.

          • Johnny O

            To quote Ron Burgundy: “Agree to disagree”

        • Steve (different one)

          Yes, CF > DH, but the Yankees already have not one, but 2, excellent CFers on their roster. And Montero will at least catch part time. Not saying it doesn’t make sense in a vacuum, because it does, but we’re not in a vacuum.

        • MattG

          Why do you think you need to give that much? Montero and Banuelos should be enough. 125 OPS+ players don’t grow on trees, but they also aren’t perennial MVP candidates. That is not far above Montero’s floor, plus two additional years control, plus Banuelos?

          This should get it done, unless Pittsburgh absolutely hates Montero at catcher.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/NorthYorkJays NorthYorkJays

            Everybody absolutely hates Montero at catcher.

            If you think Montero’s floor is anywhere near a 125 OPS+ I can see Yankees fans are still as silly as they were 3+ years ago when they scoffed at the notion of parting with Hughes + Chamberlain for the best pitcher in baseball, Roy Halladay.

            • Rich in NJ

              People hated Piazza at C too, and he’s going to the HoF. I’m not saying that Montero will put up a 140ish career OPS+, but I wouldn’t dismiss him at C out of hand.

              Given the fragility of pitchers, it’s unhelpful, at best, to compare Montero to Hughes/Joba.

              • http://twitter.com/#!/NorthYorkJays NorthYorkJays

                If you’re going to believe scouts about the potential of Montero’s bat, you have to also believe them when they universally pan his defense. As he keeps getting bigger it’s only going to become more and more obvious that he isn’t a catcher. The only reason he was put back there is because you might as well not start a prospect at 1B if there’s any chance he can handle a different position, and Montero’s arm suggested maybe he could catch. Well, he can’t.

                • MattG

                  If so, then Pittsburgh’s interest should be minimal.

                  FWIW, I always here scouts saying he “won’t stay at catcher.” That’s different from saying he can’t catch. But maybe I am just hearing what I want to hear.

                • Rich in NJ

                  Do you mean the anonymous quotes from scouts that beat writers often use, because that’s all I have seen, and I don’t given any weight to those.

                  Frankie Piliere, otoh, an ex-scout, has gone on the record, offering that:

                  The bottom line is that there is a big difference between having defensive deficiencies and not being able to play the position at all. Montero is ready to play catcher in 2011, and the more I’ve seen from him, the more confident I’ve become of that fact. He’ll have his moments that frustrate you back there, but there are no deficiencies that are glaring enough to warrant moving him off the position. His potential to hit 35 home runs a year should more than make up for that.”

                  He will be 27 when Teix’s contract is up, so he can move to 1B, if necessary, at a fairly early point in his career.

                  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                    Love the point about his age at the end of Tex’s deal. Man he’s a baby!

                  • http://twitter.com/#!/NorthYorkJays NorthYorkJays

                    No. I mean the numerous scouts willing to speak on the record about Montero. Seriously, check ANY scouting report on him.

                    “I don’t think anybody outside the Yankees organization thinks that Jesus Montero can catch.”

                    Keith Law

                    • Rich in NJ

                      Well, Piliere proves that Law is wrong, again.

                    • Doug

                      Rich – and he did that where exactly?

                  • MannyGeee

                    even better, Montero can be a FT 1B at 25 when Teix is the primary DH for the last two seasons of his contract.

                    Also, he can certainly play a fake PT catcher for a few seasons as Martin will likely be around for a while. Posada was as pretty close to as bad defensively, and he made a damn fine career of it!

            • MattG

              If you are going to be that way, everyone’s floor is zero.

              Montero is a premium hitting talent. 21 year-olds simply do not drive the ball the opposite way like he does. You can be pessimistic on him if you want, but you’re missing out.

              And, I think I am advocating, and not scoffing at, trading Montero for McCutcheon here. Was that not clear? Let’s just be sure that Pittsburgh understands that a 125 OPS+ is on the lower end of possibilities for Jesus.

              Career best .198 ISO, at age 24? FWIW, Bill James projects Montero to ISO .216 as a rookie.

              • http://twitter.com/#!/NorthYorkJays NorthYorkJays

                I’m not pessimistic on Montero at all. I think he’s a beast of a hitting prospect.

                I’m realistic on McCutchen’s value and Montero’s defensive abilities, however.

                If you think that a 125 OPS+ is on the lower end of possibilities for Jesus, you don’t understand the nature of baseball prospects or just how good a 125 OPS+ hitter is.

                • MattG

                  I think I do, and my range for Montero is 115-165. What’s yours?

  • mrpappageogio

    So where fo you put him? Right field? Where does swisher go? Trade for pitching? Highly doubt you tell Granderson, last year’s mvp runner-up and arguably best player on the team that he’s getting bounced from his position.

    • Sayid J.

      Why not?

    • MannyGeee

      ummm, yes, you can bump Granderson to RF.

      why not? can you imagine that OF defense?

  • Fernando

    What Josh said x’s two. I remember during last season’s hot stove I was salivating over the idea of having an outfield with both Curtis and (the better)Upton and I was greatly dissapointed. Alas, I don’t see this happening, but you never know…

  • Soam

    I’d love to replace Gardner with Mccutchen but considering the prospect cost (id imagine at the very least one of Montero/banuelos plus Gardner noesi romine etc) i think it’s in our best interests to stand pat and wait for our guys to develop or wait for a front end arm to hit the trade market. I feel completely confident in our 2012 lineup, Mccutchen would be an absolute luxury

    • Cris Pengiucci

      but considering the prospect cost

      Not sure I agree with you here. Yes, it would hurt, but this is one of the few instances where I might agree with giving up the prospects. But, as we continually point out, its highly unlikely that Pittsburgh is intereseted in discussing this.

      • Plank

        I would rather have 3 years of Gardner, 6 years of Montero, and whoever else would go in the deal than 4 years of McCutchen. I wouldn’t do it even if it was just Gardner and Montero.

        Gardner is really good. He’s not as good as McCutchen but he’s not that much worse.

        • MattG

          Would you do Montero and Banuelos, though (assume you have a solid deal in place for Swisher, going elsewhere)?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            I’m not Plank, but I’d do that in a heartbeat. Add Noesi to the package and I’d still do it.

          • Plank

            Yeah, I would do that in a heartbeat.

            • Plank

              I changed my mind, not because I think the deal isn’t positive for the Yankees, but if the Yankees trade Montero and Banuelos, it should be for more than a marginal upgrade in the OF. If they trade their two best prospects, it should be for an awesome pitcher.

              • MattG

                I don’t know. That pitcher doesn’t exist, for one, and the Yankees will have a hole in the outfield in 2013. This would offer awesome payroll flexibility for that 2012 free agent class, and there is also a home-grown replacement available for Montero in Romine.

                • Plank

                  Yeah, those are all valid points.

                  The pitcher worth that trade may not be available now, but may be available at the trade deadline. I’m thinking more in terms of prospect trading philosophy instead of an actual hypothetical trade.

                  Re: A hole in the outfield. There will be free agents available in 2013 to fill that hole at the time. COF is a relatively easy position to fill. They could sign Swisher, Upton (the lesser) or the Cuban Centipedes to fill the position. They could also use stopgaps until they get someone they really love.

                  Re: payroll flexibility. They already have a bunch of money coming off the books next year, plus they haven’t spent the Posada money yet and last year they were probably under their limit since they didn’t sign Lee. I don’t think they will be limited by money next off-season.

                  Re: Romine. Romine is the home grown replacement for Montero in that he is just below him on the depth chart, but they are in completely different leagues in terms of ability.

        • Slugger27

          im with you 100%. montero and banuelos, yes, thats fair. montero and gardner? no, i dont see the point.

          gardner is a great asset, and we have no legitimate OF prospects in the system that are anywhere near ready. hes pretty much untouchable unless an ace pitcher is involved.

  • Soam

    I’d love to replace Gardner with Mccutchen but considering the prospect cost (id imagine at the very least one of Montero/banuelos plus Gardner noesi romine etc) i think it’s in our best interests to stand pat and wait for our guys to develop or wait for a front end arm to hit the trade market. I feel completely confident in our 2012 lineup as it stands

  • DERP

    Montero, Betances, Williams, Marshall.

    • MattG

      I like this for both sides, too.

      I have to wonder what Pittsburgh thinks of Montero as a catcher. You would think that a team in their position is more willing to accept a little risk.

  • Steve (different one)

    McCutcheon is obviously a wonderful player that any team would love, but it strikes me as an odd allocation of resources. You have an allstar CFer already for 2 more years and you need pitching. So you’re going to trade pitching and prospects that can be used to get pitching for …an all star CFer? Would love to have him, but I dont really see the fit.

  • BigBSArteest

    Sign the Cuban guy – Then flip him to Pitt. with a bunch of 2nd tier prospects.

    • MattG

      How does that work exactly? First, you outbid Pittsburgh to get Cespedes, because they can’t pay as much as you. Then you give them the contract they would not bid?

      If he did that, we would need to call Cashman “Jedi” instead of “Ninja.”

    • Slugger27

      none of that makes any sense. if pitt wanted him, they would just bid on him and give up no prospects.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    “just a few weeks after his 25th birthday McCutchen is already a true franchise player….” Why would the Pirates want to trade a franchise player? Are they doing like the cocaine addict work more so that he can buy more coke and so forth. This team will always remain a cellar dweller if they contiinue this tradition.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Think about it this way. Say the Pirates think they’re three years from contention (wherein Gerrit Cole, James Taillon, etc. mature). At that point McCutchen will be close to free agency. If they can’t work out a long-term deal, they might be better off trading him for multiple players who can help when they’re ready in three years.

      Not saying that’s correct, but it’s a reasonable justification. That said, I can’t see them trading him, because I can’t see them getting anything close to equal value.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        I cannot see them trading him either. If I were a Pirate fan I would stop going to the games because every time the team takes one step forward management takes it three steps backward.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          Exactly. I don’t see the Pirates trading him at all either. They’re taking steps in the right direction.

      • Kosmo

        That pretty much covers it. If Pittsburgh comes into its own in the next couple of years it would seem to me McCutcheon would be leading the way. In 3 years he´ll be all of 27.

  • A.D.

    Doesn’t really make sense for the Yanks from a resource perspective, they need pitching and outfielders are generally the most available type of player (FA or otherwise).

  • JohnC

    Now that Matt Kemp is out of the picture, this will be the new name we’ll hear over and over again

  • Gonzo

    The AL East has some strong CF’ers. Could anyone in the AL East justify a real play for McCutchen? I mean beyond the obvious sweetheart deal.

    Ellsbury, Rasmus, Adam Jones, and CGrand. Can any other division in baseball rival that?

    • Plank

      That BJ Upton guy ain’t too shabby either.

      • Gonzo

        Totally spaced on that BJ Upton guy!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      B.J. Upton is pretty good too. Only five players have 20+ HR and 30+ SB last year: Kemp, Braun, Ellsbury, Kinsler, and Upton. Plus he plays a mean center field.

      • MattG

        And with that, he might be the sixth best center fielder in a division with five teams. Seventh if McCutcheon comes on down.

  • candyforstalin

    oh, great. an opportunity for the trade gardner crowd to come out in full force. just fucking die already, preposterous notion.

    • MattG

      Cashman will want to keep Gardner out of this deal. Swisher is the man one year from free agency, and he has a reasonable contract (not for Pittsburgh, but still). Unless Swisher becomes the DH, I see Swisher going in another deal.

  • AndrewYF

    Yeah, trading the farm for an outfielder simply doesn’t make sense, given the Yankees’ needs.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    It’d take a very big package, I think most folks agree, certainly one including Montero and, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this started at Montero+Gardner+Banuelos.

    The question is do you switch long-term course so much for one player? My answer to that, in the end, is “no.” Keeping Montero and Gardner in the lineup longterm is not something you should looking to move away from, not when there’s places to make the team better.

    Still, yeah, it’s nice to dream. Now say three prayers to the Virgin Mary while holding a picture of Mason Williams.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    McCutchen is a excellent player. I loved to have him on our team. But, the cost of Montero and one of the B’s makes me stop right there. The Pirates will surely want Gardner added to the mix, similar players except power output. I don’t have a problem with him in the mix. But why trade Montero, Banuellos and Gardner for something we don’t need.

    We need pitching and if the team roster is going to be reconfigured for one player. I’d do it for the stud pitcher. Our pitching after CC has not improved. Its OK but Garcia is not the answer to the WS ring.

    IMHO Montero will hit to expectation in the big leagues especially power-wise. Does he have a position, DH and part-time catcher. The Yankees have to use him in the backup catcher spot.

    Really McCuthen is adding another sports car in the garage when you have three already. We need the 7 series for the rotation to get us to the WS and winning it. We might have to trade in the concept vehicles for the 7 series but its OK. We need the 7 series.

    • candyforstalin

      the 5 war player? sure. the prospects? hey, wait a second now.

    • Soam

      I wouldn’t give up Montero and Banuelos for him.

      I realize he’s worth it, but I just don’t think it would be a good fit for us.
      The lineup is already going to be the best in baseball in 2012, I reserve our best prospects unless we can address a real need (Starting pitching)
      If I’m cashman, I send PIT a Gardner, Betances, Noesi, Romine, Hughes offer just for due diligence and keep it moving after they decline.

  • Grit for Brains

    I don’t see it happening really…but what if it could be a backdoor way to Felix in a 3 way trade? We give Pit the insane package we think Felix is worth (Starts with Montero and ManBan of course) and McCutchen goes to Seattle with Felix coming to NY? Seattle gets a franchise player who probably makes more sense for them as:

    a) Felix is becoming an 18 million a year plus guy
    b) Behind the very good Michael Pineda at the top are mostly pitching prospects
    c) The park gives a built in advantage to building and acquiring pitching talent

    Seattle hasn’t wanted to give up Felix for prospects but to get a premium up the middle talent with 4 years of club control? That makes (at least to me) a lot more sense than Felix who has a salary north of 18 million per year or nearly 20% of the payroll on a team nowhere near competing for a division title.

    Would you rather give up the farm for McCutchen or Felix?

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      My comment in the article following this exactly. What, from whatever number of years you have been watching baseball for, makes you think the off-season works this way?

    • Plank

      I was about to say that it didn’t make sense since the Mariners have no need to reduce payroll, but they could go after Pujols or Fielder pretty hard if they made that trade.

      Still not going to happen since the chances of both the Pirates getting rid of McCutchen and the Mariners getting rid of Felix has to be close to zero, but it’s not as crazy as it first seems.

  • Cruisers202

    As a Pirate fan, I don’t see this as likely. Mccutchen’s value right now is more than any team can afford, and the pirates aren’t likely to deal their best player when they still have 4 years of control. Come back in three years, or even two if marte pans out.

    • Mike in EV

      In a year or two it is possible (though not guaranteed) that Montero’s value will exceed McCutchen’s.

  • http://none Favrest

    We are the NY Yankees. If you do not accept our generous offer now of second tier players, we will just take him. And you will get nothing. Also we will leave your puny city in ruins for opposing us.

  • Preston

    If we traded for McCutchen the upgrade to the 2012 line-up would be small. McCutchen would be in the OF and Swisher would DH. So the upgrades would come in the difference between McCutchen and Swisher’s defense and the difference between McCutchen and Montero’s offense. Obviously we’d go from a league average defender in RF to a great defensive RF (no matter how we align Gardner, Granderson and McCutchen). Bill James projects McCutchen to hit .277/.368/.455 in 2012, with Montero .289/.351/.505, so the offensive projections would be a wash. Obviously McCutchen is more of a sure thing to produce as this will be his fourth year. But Montero also seems more likely to exceed those expectations. So for 2012 the improvement would be marginal.
    Obviously going forward McCutchen would give great value as an OF (unless Montero sticks at C). But would that offset the loss of probably 3 or 4 of our top prospects? In 2013 Romine and Banuelos could possibly be starters for us. We would probably have to trade both of them to get McCutchen. To me the cost would be to high and the possible reward (if any) is to low.

  • Mel Hall’s Hair

    Eduardo Nunez for McCutch. I know that light hitting, poor fielding middle infielders with large noses don’t grow on trees, but I think this is a win for the Yanks. Make it happen, Cash.

    • Nunez for President

      I lol’d.

  • Doug

    KLaw just ranked McCutchen as the 2nd best player in baseball age 25 or under. Done without regard to contracts, service time, or scheduled free agency.

    So if you don’t empty the farm for 4 cost-controlled years of him, who do you do it for?

    • Plank

      Did he rank Montero?