The San Francisco Giants Have Acquired Andrew McCutchen

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates

Just days after trading their ace Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros, the Pittsburgh Pirates continued to sell off assets in order to rebuild their organization by sending outfielder and face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants.

This one’s gotta sting for Pirates fans, and you’re an asshole if you don’t feel for ‘em here. It sucks, because this is a fan base who obviously loves this player, but it’s not always the case when said player loves the fans, the team and the city back. There are a lot of guys out there, beloved or otherwise, who can’t wait to get to free agency, or be traded out of town to get to a better situation. McCutchen was not that guy.

In fact, McCutchen was on the record as saying that he’d love to spend his whole career in Pittsburgh, win championships there and retire as one of the all-time greats in franchise history. If it’s any consolation to him, he’ll still somewhat get the last part. Sure, he won’t retire as a Pirate — although, I could see him signing one of those one-day deals to retire with the team when he’s ready to hang it up — but he will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the best players to ever put on a Pirates uniform.

The 31-year-old has been the subject of trade rumors for over a year now, and Pittsburgh was wise to wait that extra year despite losing an extra year of control as a bargaining chip. McCutchen was coming off a career worst season by OPS in 2016 (.766) when the trade rumors really started heating up, but the nine-year veteran rebounded this past season by hitting .279 with an .849 OPS, 26 doubles, 24 homers and 79 RBI. That rebound year for sure increased the return that the Pirates would’ve gotten had they dealt him last offseason.

He might not be the player that he was in 2013 when he took home National League MVP honors, but he’s certainly an upgrade over what the Giants had been trotting out there in 2017. Last season, Giants outfielders combined for an OPS of .685, which, as you can imagine, was worse than every other team in the majors. Although he’s no longer an impact player, he certainly makes the Giants better, but I guess that’s not saying much when San Francisco had the worst record in baseball last year.

For what it’s worth, McCutchen is only under contract for one more year, so I’m curious as to how much of this move was just to have a “name” out there to help sell tickets and create buzz in San Francisco. Yeah, it makes them better, but it doesn’t magically turn them into a World Series contender or anything close. If it’s essentially a one-year deal for McCutchen, the Giants can’t really expect to go from dead last to a competitive team in one winter, can they? I don’t think they’ll be nearly as bad as they were in 2017, especially with a healthy Madison Bumgarner, but I’m curious to hear what the logic might be there.