It’s no secret that the Yankees have seemed lost at times without Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in the lineup. Even with Sanchez’s struggles, the presence of his potential still lengthens the lineup over whatever it is Austin Romine brings. While Sanchez is on the mend, the Yankees got word that the original three-week timeline for Judge was overly optimistic, and it’s actually a four-to-six week recovery time.
As if that news wasn’t bad enough, the Yankees just placed Didi Gregorius on the disabled list with a left heel contusion. The lineup that needed length just got shorter. Between Neil Walker, Ronald Torreyes, and Gleyber Torres the team can cover shortstop and second base. Unfortunately, Walker’s been playing right field a bit because of Giancarlo Stanton’s hamstrings and Shane Robinson’s Shane Robinsonness.
As fine of a player Torreyes is in his utility infielder role, the team probably shouldn’t risk overexposing him by relying on him to play every day. The “simple” solution to all this would be to get another bat, preferably an outfield bat. Pinstripe Alley staff has been hammering this point for a while, but getting another bat becomes even more important now that Judge is going to be out longer and Gregorius will be out for a while as well.
A few days ago, Brett Borzelli laid out a few options for outfield bats the team could pursue. Since then, another possibility has emerged.
Not surprising given the way #sfgiants played in Cincinnati, but I’m hearing Andrew McCutchen has been placed on revocable waivers. Very good chance he is wearing another uniform by the end of the week.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 21, 2018
I’ve been sounding the “GET CUTCH” horn since before the non-waiver trade deadline and I haven’t really stopped. Andrew McCutchen is one my favorite players in all of baseball and my love for him blindly wants to see him in Yankee pinstripes. He’s no longer the MVP-caliber player he once was in Pittsburgh, but he’s still having a decent season.
On the year, McCutchen is hitting .257/.354/.414 with 14 home runs. That’s good for a 113 wRC+, so he’s clearly been an above average bat. While that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, it’s still leagues ahead of what Robinson can offer. Cutch can man right field, allow Stanton to DH, then Walker can go back to second, while Torres can slide over to short.
McCutchen would give the Yankees a real option to play in Judge’s absence and allow them to give their MVP enough time to heal. Judge’s timeline went from three weeks to four-to-six weeks. There was always doubt regarding the three-week timeline, so it was weird to see the Yankees not make a move, but with the news about Judge and Gregorius coming to light, the need is even greater.
Judge obviously needs more time to heal, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess as to how long of a rehab assignment he’ll require. It’s not just about getting him pain-free, but he’ll also need to get his timing right. Having a real baseball player on the team allows the Yankees to give Judge all the time he needs to get ready for a playoff push.
The biggest obstacle with getting McCutchen is going to be his salary. From the $12.25 million the Giants are paying him this year, he’s still owed approximately $2.35 million. I know the Yankees won’t throw caution to the wind and go over the $197 million luxury tax threshold, so I won’t bother arguing that they should. Personally, I don’t care if they do or don’t, it’s not my money, but I’ve accepted the truth for now.
The amount owed to McCutchen, however, is not a lot. The Yankees don’t have a lot of wiggle room after their acquisitions of J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn, but they do have some room to breathe. Depending on what they offer back, they can probably get the Giants to keep some of the salary on their payroll as well.
If the Yankees can figure out a way to stay under the threshold, they should absolutely be in on Andrew McCutchen. At the very least, they should be pursuing another bat, but McCutchen is one of the better options out there. Plus, it’s not like anyone is using the number 22 on the Yankees.