Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates is a five-time all-star, a former National League MVP, and he might be on the trade market. Do the Houston Astros bite?
The Astros seek an outfielder as the offseason begins. With decreased performance in 2016, the Pirates are rumored to be looking to move their slugger, Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen hit .256 with 24 bombs and 79 Runs batted in and stole six bases in 2016. A career .292 hitter, McCutchen hit for a significantly lower average in 2016 than his career average has been. But is this a sign of a player decreasing or just an off year?
Talking Stros discussed McCutchen on this week’s edition below.
McCutchen is currently 29-years-old and appears to have plenty of baseball left in him. The five-time all-star still managed to hit 24 home runs and played in 153 of 162 games in 2016.
If he really is on the market, I feel it’s worth a look for the Houston Astros. Center field is a current liability for the ball club. Although there are bigger glaring holes on the team, McCutchen can be a significant contributor for the team. He has solid range in center field and won a gold glove in 2012, showing he plays above average defense.
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He can hit in the backend or middle of the lineup and can play a good majority of the season. Acquiring McCutchen would also allow the team to move Yulieski Gurriel to a full-time first baseman, thus addressing two needs with one move.
The price would be pretty high for McCutchen, and Astros fans are still feeling the effects of the disastrous 2015 trade that brought what was supposed to be a strong player in Carlos Gomez.
Gomez went on to struggle in Houston and was released halfway through the 2016 season. The move for McCutchen may feel similar, but that is the risk you run in this business.
McCutchen has a proven track record that is much more impressive than that of Gomez, and his leadership and character make him a great fit. We will revisit this as the offseason progresses, but the team has a help needed sign in the outfield right now. The sign is next to the under construction sign by Tal’s Hill.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**