The Yankees could use another outfielder and have never been shy about bringing in big names. Thus, with Aaron Judge ailing and Giancarlo Stanton in danger of being overworked, the team agreed to a deal to acquire Andrew McCutchen from the Giants.
That’s according to multiple reports Thursday evening, several of which claimed that, in return, San Francisco was set to receive minor league infielder Abiatal Avelino and another prospect from New York. The 2013 National League MVP and a five-time all-star, but a player whose numbers have dropped off in recent years, McCutchen was in his first season with the Giants after spending his first nine with the Pirates.
The trade could be an indication that the Yankees are concerned about the health of Judge, who has been slow to return from a fractured right wrist he suffered July 23. The team expected him to miss just three weeks, and it did not make a move for an outfielder ahead of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, but while Judge has been playing catch, he’s reportedly not ready to swing a bat.
Meanwhile, Stanton has played in 83 straight games, while Judge’s replacements in right field, including Shane Robinson and Neil Walker, a veteran infielder pressed into service, have struggled at the plate. The 31-year-old McCutchen has averaged 155 games per season over the past eight years, with no fewer than 146 in any one season, and even his diminished offensive production would represent a short-term upgrade as the Yankees try to hold on to their lead in the wild card race.
In 130 games with the Giants this year, McCutchen is batting .255, with a .772 OPS, 15 home runs and 55 RBI. Over his past three seasons, he is hitting .264 with a .797 OPS, compared to marks of .298 and .884, respectively, over his first seven seasons, the final one of which, in 2015, saw him receive his most recent all-star selection.
The trade is expected to be completed by Friday, the deadline for players on new teams to be eligible for postseason rosters. Avelino, a 23-year-old Dominican, was batting a combined .287 with 15 homers, 66 RBI and 25 steals this season with the Yankees’ Class AAA and Class AA.
McCutchen is in the final season of a six-year, $51.5 million deal he signed with Pittsburgh in 2012. He became the face of the franchise as he helped it end a 20-year postseason drought in 2013, but his play fell off noticeably in 2016, and the Pirates dealt him to the Giants in January for a pair of minor leaguers and cash.
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