Some trade rumors are surprising, some are outlandish, and some are more along the lines of “Oh, that’s the strategy Team X is going with? Makes sense, yeah.” This is definitely an example of that last thing.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that multiple teams are interested in Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and that San Francisco is specifically looking to trade the players who will be free agents at the end of the season as they look to the future. Teams involved are reported to include the Phillies, Yankees, and Indians.
Why the Giants would trade Andrew McCutchen to the Phillies
As said succinctly above, because he’s a free agent at the end of this year. The Giants got him from the Pirates in the offseason with the expectation that he, and the rest of their offseason acquisitions, would put the Giants in a position to compete in the tough NL West. Instead, they’re 6.5 games back in the division with three teams ahead of them and six games back in the NL Wild Card race with four teams ahead of them.
With McCutchen nearing the end of his contract and the Giants deciding to keep most of their pieces but leverage rental players for a few prospects here and there that could help them down the line makes sense. It’s not a full fire sale, but it is a savvy hedging of bets this season. If they can still pull off a comeback and make the postseason (unlikely) then that’s a bonus when you look at where they currently stand.
But as of now they can’t rely on that happening so getting returns on players who are not a part of the future in San Francisco is crucial.
Why the Phillies would trade for Andrew McCutchen
We know the Phillies don’t mind giving up a few pieces for a rental based on their reported offers for Manny Machado, and we know they’re looking for outfield help based on their talks with the Orioles about Adam Jones. With Aaron Altherr struggling and demoted to Triple A to turn his bat around, and the Phillies having a real chance to take the division and make a postseason run in a year where that wasn’t a guarantee, getting a bat and a reliable glove in the outfield would be a boon for their
McCutchen is hitting .253/.348/.405 with a .753 OPS, a 107 OPS+ and 10 home runs so far this year, down from last season but far better than what Altherr was giving them. Also, at 31, he could be a helpful veteran presence on a team that is filled with young talent.
B. The Phillies have swung and missed on a few potential rental trades but with things coming down to the wire this seems like a legitimate opportunity for them to finally close and upgrade at one of the final positions where they need to do so. Previous deals fell through because one side or the other balked at the asking price or what was being offered, so if the Giants and Phillies can come to a reasonable agreement before the deadline this is one of the more likely trades to happen.