After a disappointing loss from the Yankees, they decided to get a win but not on the field. Nearly right after the game sources started to say that the Yankees were trying to finalize a deal for Andrew McCutchen.
Nearly an hour later after rumors broke, it became official that Andrew McCutchen was the newest Yankee. This came as a happy surprise to Yankees Universe but there was plenty of feeling that Yankees fans let be known. As soon as the move was made I had a few thoughts that entered mine. The thoughts included is this too little too late? Will McCutchen’s leadership help the locker room? What about Judge? Let’s talk about all of these points.
The first point that needs to be brought up is the question of was this done too late by Cashman? The Yankees have needed an upgrade to their firepower ever since Judge was injured. Having an almost everyday Shane Robinson in the lineup has very clearly hurt the lineup. Having a struggling Brett Gardner hasn’t helped much either. Was this move made too late for the Yankees to actually try to catch up to the blazing hot Red Sox? Maybe but it doesn’t matter. The Yankees should very easily grab a wild-card spot. McCutchen leadership and veteran presence should help the Yankees get hot coming into the playoffs and that’s what matters.
When it comes to October regular season records don’t matter. What does matter is who is hot at the right time.
A point that I brought up in the first point is McCutchen’s leadership presence. I think it’s worth bringing up again because of how much of a great veteran McCutchen has been for the Pirates and the Giants in his career. Not only in the regular season as a five-time consecutive all-star, but also in the postseason where he batted .321/.441/.357 in 34 plate appearance. He’s been in the league for 10 years now and has been a pretty incredible player. His accolades go on and on but one that pops out to me is in a four-year span (2012-2015) he finished fifth or better in the MVP race. Pure consistency is what you can expect out of McCutchen which is pretty exciting when you consider that there are a lot of guys on the Yankees that are boom or bust.
The third point that should be made about the Yankees acquisition of McCutchen is if this means that Judge might not come back. Cashman might have made this acquisition because he thinks that Judge won’t be back until either next season or to late to make a difference this season. Remember that even if Judge woke up tomorrow morning with his wrist feeling better it would still take at least two weeks for Judge to get back into game shape and rehab his wrist. Getting McCutchen this late in August definitely raises eyebrows when it comes to the health of Judge.
The price that the Yankees had to pay for McCutchen comes into play when talking about the 4th point. Their 24th and 26th ranked prospects (according to MLB Pipeline) on the Yankee’s loaded farm system seems like absolutely nothing and is nothing when you consider that the Yankees also had the Giants pay out half of McCutchen’s remaining contract. So to summarize the Yankees acquired a veteran five-time all-star and cash for two prospects who will probably never see the majors. Seems like one side won pretty easily.
The fifth point that I want to bring up how much fans are going to love McCutchen. There is a lot of love coming from the Yankee fans for the players, especially for guys like Didi because of how he is off the field as well. A guy who is funny, humble, and exposes himself to the fans. McCutchen is exactly that type of guy. After the Dodgers brawl with the Giants, McCutchen took to social media and talked through the fight and was very comical about it. It feels like he is going to fit in well with Yankee fans of the field. How will it be on the field though?
Now, I’m ready to throw the pinstripes on and get to work. @Yankees let’s go!
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) August 31, 2018
The last point that will be brought up by the media constantly is that McCutchen is obviously out of his prime and won’t contribute that much to the Yankees. This is where a lot of the media will be proven wrong. Players who get moved to a contender have proven time and time again that they are better then they seem. Take J.A. Happ for example. He was doing well with the Jays but not anything extraordinary. Through his first 6 starts with the Yankees he has a 3.38 ERA, a 5-0 record, and 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. McCutchen could do the same as he joins his first team that will make the playoffs since the 2015 Pirates.