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4th OF - Andrew McCutchen?

Posted by ThejacKmp , 09 May 2018 · 937 views

grossman outfield mccutchen trade deadline trade
I was thinking about the trade deadline today. If the Twins are still in it after the All-Star Break and don't have any huge injuries (knock on wood), they're a pretty solid team. It’s hard to see where they’d need massive upgrades.

• The starting rotation almost has too many options so outside of an ace, it makes little sense to get a pitcher. Even then, not sure there’s going to be a starting pitcher available who moves the dial that much.
• The bullpen has struggled at times but is deep with a lot of options in the high minors. You could make a move but the market on elite bullpen arms is always high and I’m not sure the Twins will have a need that excuses the cost.
• The starting lineup looks set. Escobar papers over any infield issues and the starting outfield is strong. And with Polanco coming back in the second half (though not the playoffs), SS seems like somewhere the Twins can hold off on an upgrade.

The Twins biggest targets might be more cosmetic and involve the bench. Assuming Castro isn’t gone for long, catcher is set. Infield seems good too with Adrianza and Escobar (elephant in the room about who goes when Polanco comes back).

The big hole for the Twins is a RH 4th outfielder who can soak up some DH at-bats. Rosario and Kepler have hit lefties well but it’d be nice to not be trotting out Grossman so regularly against LH starters. Ryan Lamarre has been a nice story but there’s room for improving the outfield depth on the MLB roster – Grossman can become a 25th man as a switch-hitting bench bat rather than an often-overmatched 4th OF.

The Twins will have some options to upgrade this spot but I’m hoping that Andrew McCutchen will be available and willing to come play a more bit role for a contending team. That last part is no small matter but the Giants have lost Madison and Cueto and look like a team that could plummet down the standings. McCutchen might be interested in tasting the playoffs again?

He would be an ideal fit. He has a career .963 OPS vs. LHP (and 1.131 OPS last year so that's not weighted by early performance). That would be solid in the Twins lineup and would also give them that big bench bat they're looking for when teams bring in left-handed relievers late (McCutchen has a higher OPS vs. LH relievers than LH starters). He’s also a capable corner OF even if he’s no longer a CF.

The cost would likely not be prohibitive. McCutchen is in the last year of his deal and has struggled at times this year. He fetched almost nothing this offseason – middling RH reliever Kyle Crick and Bryan Reynolds, a 2016 2nd round pick OF who hasn’t look special thus far and profiles as a 4th OF or defensive centerfielder. If the Twins are willing to eat $6-8 million in salary, I think they could get McCutchen for someone like 2017 5th round pick Andrew Bechtold. And even that might be too high - I was siding on giving up too much instead of an unrealistic pipedream.

Thoughts on this? I’d feel a lot more comfortable if our lineup against LHP was something like:

1B Mauer ( L )
2B Dozier ( R )
DH Sano ( R )
RF McCutchen ( R )
LF Rosario/Kepler ( L )
CF Buxton ( R )
3B Escobar ( S )
C Garver ( R )
SS Polanco/Adrianza ( S )

You could even give Joe a day off and slot Grossman in as DH with Sano playing 1B. Your bench against lefties would be Morrison, Rosario/Kepler, Grossman/Mauer and Castro. That’s not too shabby.

  • DannySD likes this



One issue might be if the Giants continue to compete (they're 19-17) and thus aren't selling. However, it's hard to see that continuing with Cueto out for 8-10 weeks and Baumgardner at least a month away from coming back. The NL West looks pretty competitive with the Dodgers bound to bounce back and the Rockies and D-Backs off to hot starts.

 

I'm definitely checking to see if the Giants lose each day. There isn't another great option as a RH OF (lots of LH ones) so it'd be nice if McCutchen was an option (and if other contenders didn't need the same thing).

"Assuming Castro isn’t gone for long, catcher is set."

 

This makes me laugh. He can't hit a barn and Garver is unproven. I'd rather see them get a catcher that can produce a run or 2 every once in a while than an upgrade to the 4th outfielder spot.

 

"Assuming Castro isn’t gone for long, catcher is set."

 

This makes me laugh. He can't hit a barn and Garver is unproven. I'd rather see them get a catcher that can produce a run or 2 every once in a while than an upgrade to the 4th outfielder spot.

 

This is some serious Castro-hate based on a very small sample.

 

Since 2012, Castro has put up a 97 OPS+ as a catcher. That's pretty solid for a catcher. He's off to a rough start this year but his BABIP is low and we're basing it off of 63 at bats. That's not enough to say he can't hit. And his catching has been good this year - he's thrown out 40% of base stealers and is generally considered an above-average catcher.

 

Garver is unproven but that's kind of the point of a backup catcher. He's got a 107 OPS+ and is trending up after a cold start.

 

I don't see where the Twins are going to get some elite catcher. Those don't exist on the free agent market (Russell Martin was really the last one to hit the market) and are very expensive via trade. The Twins have a pretty good catching situation - a lefty and a righty with some pop. If one goes down, I could see adding someone but that'd be the only reason to upgrade catcher.

 

    • howieramone2 and MaxOelerking like this

Also not sure what Cutch's contract situation is like. I believe he's playing on the last deal he signed with Pittsburgh, and there may be a no trade clause in their somewhere

 

Also not sure what Cutch's contract situation is like. I believe he's playing on the last deal he signed with Pittsburgh, and there may be a no trade clause in their somewhere

 

I didn't see anything about a no-trade clause when McCutchen got traded and he doesn't qualify for the 10-and-5 veto. So I think he can be traded.

 

He's on the last year of his deal and makes $14 million. So at the deadline it'd be somewhere around $6 million for the rest of the year. Definitely something the Twins could absorb.

Making things interesting, the Giants are paying $208 Million for this team and are over the luxury cap by $11 million-ish. They were over the luxury tax limit by $3 million last year too so getting under this year would allow them to reset the increasingly draconian penalty and avoid being a third time offender next year.

 

Getting McCutchen off the books would bring them close to getting under the cap. The Giants might have to move a guy like McCutchen because there aren't a lot of other options:

  • Hunter Pence is the only other big-money expiring contract and he's going to be very difficult to move. Joe Panik has an expiring deal but he's only making $3.5 million so that doesn't move the needle much.
  • Posey has value but it's hard to see the face of the franchise being traded and his contract is pretty massive for a 31 year old catcher.
  • Baumgardner has a lot of value when he comes back and is likely the biggest chip the Giants have for getting prospects but it's hard to see the Giants moving him. Baumgardner + McCutchen would get the Giants under the cap FWIW.
  • Melancon, Longoria, Crawford, Cueto, Shark and Belt are all on too long of deals and not effective enough to be realistically moved IMO.
  • Austin Jackson and Tony Watson each make only $3 million this year and next and might have some interest as a 4th OF or middle reliever salary dump to get the balance of the $11 million after McCutchen theoretically goes.

Larger point is that if the Giants were to lose 20 of their next 30 games or so (not hard without Cueto or MadBaum) and decided resetting the luxury tax is a priority, it's hard not to see McCutchen being a part of that. The earlier they move him, the more of his salary they get off their books. Might be a nice opportunity for the Twins to get a new 4th OF in early June.

    • James likes this
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MaxOelerking
May 11 2018 09:36 PM

We would have to give up a lot for Cutch, and I don't think we are close enough to sell the farm for one guy just yet. Especially a player who is currently slugging under .400


We would have to give up a lot for Cutch, and I don't think we are close enough to sell the farm for one guy just yet. Especially a player who is currently slugging under .400


You're being seduced by the name. It would take a very minor prospect - if you read above i suggested that the twins recent 5th round pick might be too much. Not even a top 20 prospect.

He still hits lefties like crazy. Which is exactly what the twins need.