Dodgers: If Andrew McCutchen is in the Plans the Time is Now
By Jacob Rudner
The Dodgers are staring at what could be the opportunity of a lifetime. The Houston Astros just acquired the Pirates best pitcher, Garrett Cole, for next to nothing and now that he is gone, the Pirates may be going into full rebuild mode.
If that is the case, superstar center fielder, Andrew McCutchen, could be next to go and there will be no better time than now for the Dodgers to immerse themselves in the bidding. If Andrew McCutchen is in the plans, the Dodgers must act immediately.
Andrew McCutchen is one of those players that would help any team regardless of how good or bad they are. He is a generational talent who in his nine years of playing has amassed: five All-Star appearances, four silver slugger awards, a gold glove, and was the league MVP in 2013. The accolades are undeniable but even with all of them on his resume the price to acquire him in a trade may be cheaper than ever.
First, McCutchen is in a contract year. Now in the final season of his 7 year $65 million contract, the Pirates, who won just 75 games last year, may want to grab a prospect return that they otherwise would not get if they held onto the 31-year-old outfielder. McCutchen is owed just $14.5 million this season, an amount the Dodgers can afford as it would have no effect on their financial position heading into the 2019 mega free agency class. Final years of contracts and rebuilding teams are a match made in heaven for any contender looking to buy.
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The second and most important point in a potential trade for McCutchen is the Pirates new handicap on the trade market: selling price. As I said earlier, the Bucs traded away Garrett Cole for a shockingly low return. Netting only one prospect who made their already very weak top 30, the Pirates have set the bar low for what they want in trades. Andrew McCutchen on name alone will require a larger return but if the Pirates are willing to make trades in which they receive some mediocre prospects and a major leaguer, the Dodgers should be thanking their lucky stars.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking, why would the Dodgers need McCutchen and where would he play? Well, the answer to the first question is fairly simple, McCutchen makes this team even more ridiculous than it already is. Last season, McCutchen hit .279 with 28 home runs and 88 RBI’s. He also had a WAR of 2.5 and stole 11 bases. So really, the veteran McCutchen would be a solid boost to a very crowded outfield which brings me to my next point, where would he play?
When a guy with the talent level of McCutchen gets brought into the mix he will be accommodated no matter what. Since he has gold glove level defense, there is nothing to suggest he would not be made the Dodgers’ everyday centerfielder. That would probably move Chris Taylor a role where he split time between second base and left field. The Dodgers would also be more inclined at this point to just release Matt Kemp or aggressively pursue a trade where they would pay most of the contract for whichever team he goes to. Regardless, if the Dodgers were to land McCutchen, they would make the moves necessary to get him playing time.
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I am not saying they need it but the Dodgers would certainly not be hurt from a trade for Andrew McCutchen. His veteran experience, impressive offense and defense and low price all combine to make the situation at least worth the investigation. And, if the price is right, the time is now.