The waiver trade-deadline acquisition of Andrew McCutchen provides the Yankees with a veteran, top-of-the-lineup bat. Although his production has fallen off from his 2013 National League MVP peak, McCutchen is only 31 years old. He could still provide plenty of pop for the Bombers as they head into the home stretch of the pennant chase.
McCutchen led the NL with 194 hits in 2012, when he also belted a career-high 31 home runs. That breakout campaign began a four-year stretch where McCutchen achieved a .400 plus on-base percentage, won the Silver Slugger Award, and finished in the top five in MVP Award voting during each of those seasons.
Since Pittsburgh traded him to the Giants ahead of the 2018 season, McCutchen has posted a respectable .255/.357/.415 slash line, while accumulating 1.7 WAR. The right-handed hitter has 15 homers, 55 RBI, and 65 runs scored batting at the top of a Giants lineup that is not nearly as impressive as New York’s. McCutchen leads San Francisco in each of those three categories.
His splits are excellent as well, with 10 of his home runs coming against righties. McCutchen’s on-base percentage is higher than any qualifier on the Bombers, except Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks. McCutchen also brings good speed and base-stealing acumen, having swiped 13 bags in 18 attempts. Brett Gardner leads the Yankees with 13 stolen bases, while Didi Gregorius and Hicks follow with 10 apiece.
Upon donning the pinstripes, McCutchen will slide into a batting order that already features defending NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and consistent run producer Hicks. McCutchen’s veteran presence will provide a nice counter-balance to rookie phenoms Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, as the club patiently awaits the returns of Gary Sanchez, Gregorius, and Judge.
The healthy, Gold Glove Award-winning McCutchen can play right field every day until Judge’s wrist heals, which would allow Stanton to continue resting his ailing hamstring by serving as the club’s primary designated hitter. When Judge finally returns to action, McCutchen could continue on as part of the team’s outfield/DH mix. McCutchen played center field for virtually his entire career, before shifting to right this season with the Giants.
I like this move a lot. It’s actually the one I was hoping to see come to fruition. McCutchen is a 10-year MLB veteran who has never played in the World Series. Now he has an opportunity to help a loaded Yankees team get there.