Friday, August 31, 2018

Yankees Acquire McCutchen, Outfield Bat They Need For Pennant Run

The Yankees acquired outfielder Andrew McCutchen along with cash considerations from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for INF Abiatal Avelino and RHP Juan De Paula.

This was just the move the Yankees had to make as it is unclear when Aaron Judge will be back, as his rehabilitation from his wrist injury has gone slower than projected.

At this point with Judge, it is realistic to think he might be shut down for the season, so they had to make the move for the veteran McCutchen, who won the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player award when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In Judge's absence, the Yankees have had to play Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks nearly every night, while working in journeyman Shane Robison, and even career infielder Neil Walker into some spot starts in right field.

The Yankees can now rotate McCutchen, Gardner, Stanton, and Hicks between the three outfield spots and designated hitter. They also will gain flexibility with catcher Gary Sanchez returning this weekend, and he will likely be DH some days while getting back into a rhythm.

McCutchen, 31, hit .255 (123-for-482) with an on-base percentage of .357 and a .415 slugging percentage, with 65 runs, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 15HR, 55RBI, 73BB and 13SB in 130 games in his lone season with the Giants. His 73 walks are tied for seventh-most in the National League. He played 128 games (127 starts) in right field, committing just two errors in 255TC (.992).

The key numbers for McCuthchen are the .357 on-base percentage and the 73 walks because it shows he can work counts, wear pitchers down, and is generally a tough out.

That might be what the Yankees miss most from Judge and why the offense has suffered in the last month in his absence.

The Fort Meade, Fla., native played his first nine Major League seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2009-17), making five NL All-Star Teams (2011-15) and winning the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award and 2015 Roberto Clemente Award. He was traded by Pittsburgh with cash considerations to the Giants in exchange for RHP Kyle Crick, OF Bryan Reynolds and international bonus pool money on January 15, 2018. He is under contract through the 2018 season.
In 1,476 games over 10 Major League seasons (2009-18), the right-handed hitter is batting .288/.377/.481 (1,586-for-5,515) with 879R, 320 doubles, 46 triples, 218HR, 780RBI, 758BB and 184SB. Since 2009, he ranks second among Major League hitters in runs scored and times on base (2,412), and fifth in hits and walks.

McCutchen was originally selected by the Pirates in the first round (11th overall) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

Avelino, 23, combined with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Double-A Trenton to hit .287 (133-for-464) with 65R, 13 doubles, 8 triples, 15HR and 66RBI in 123 games this season. He was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on December 26, 2011.

De Paula, 20, went 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA (47.1IP, 9ER) and 46K in 10 games (nine starts) with short-season Single-A Staten Island this season. He was acquired by the Yankees with RHP Jio Orozco from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for OF Ben Gamel on August 31, 2016.

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