Should The Dodgers Go After Andrew McCutchen?

Andrew McCutchen

The Pirates are rumored to be shopping franchise center fielder Andrew McCutchen. The question I am asking is if the Dodgers should be in on these trade discussions? Should the Dodgers go after McCutchen? With the free agent market nearly barren for position players and impact right handed bats, the Dodgers may have to get creative via trades to find that type of slugger, especially if they do not resign Justin Turner.

It is no secret that the Dodgers are in need of a right handed bat to balance out a very lefty heavy lineup. Of course it would be better if that bat was a corner infielder, but it would be hard to pass up on a talented player like McCutchen.

McCutchen has been with the Bucs since 2009, originally drafted by the Pirates in the first round of the 2005 draft. McCutchen previously had been one of the best players in baseball. The 30-year old veteran has averaged at least 20 home runs for six consecutive seasons.

He has had a deadly mixture of power, speed, and on base skills. He’s posted four consecutive seasons from 2012-2015 with an OBP of .400 or greater. Overall he has slashed a career .292/.381/.487 with 175 home runs, and 637 runs batted in while playing over 1190 games in his eight major league seasons. He’s been an all-star five times, and won the NL MVP award in 2013.

That 2013 season was arguably his finest year. He batted .317 with a .410 OBP and a .911 OPS with 21 home runs, 84 runs batted in and 27 stolen bases in 674 plate appearances. That included 184 hits, and 78 walks. McCutchen has been one of the most consistent base stealers in all of baseball, stealing 160 career bags while being caught just 62 times.

Unfortunately McCutchen’s numbers have been declining over the last two seasons. His batting, on base skills, and speed have all dropped significantly. In 2015, McCutchen batted .292 with a .410 OBP but his strikeouts rose from 115 in 2014, to 133. He still hit 23 home runs in 2015, and 24 last year. He drew just 69 walks in 2016, and struck out 143 times. His slash line plummeted to .256/.336/.430 and just 6 stolen bases in 675 plate appearances.

Not only that, but apparently his defense has fallen off as well. UZR rated him with a -18 rating in 2016, and -28 defensive runs saved. The Pirates reportedly felt that he was playing too shallow. If the Dodgers were to deal for him they would probably have to move him to a corner position with rookie standout Joc Pederson entrenched in center field.

Its unknown as to what the Pirates would want for him, but it could be in the way of young cost controlled arms. Possibly Jose De Leon, Yadier Alvarez, Trevor Oaks or walker Buehler. It is unlikely the Dodgers would want to part with any of those young arms, but maybe the Dodgers could live with losing one or two to get McCutchen. A player of his caliber doesn’t become available often, even if he had a declining season.

The guessing game is whether McCutchen is in decline from age and injuries, or if 2016 was just a down year. McCutchen is entering the final year of a 6-year 51.5 million dollar contract. He is owed 14 million for next season, and has a 14 million dollar club option with a 1 million dollar buyout.

Would you trade prospects for Andrew McCutchen? Should the Dodgers go after him?

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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78 thoughts on “Should The Dodgers Go After Andrew McCutchen?

    1. Interesting read.

      Who the hell is Diane Toscano?

      Rather quiet baseball thread.

      If it takes De Leon, Alvarez and Buehler I don’t do it. How about Pederson, Puig and …….. McKazmirthy?

      1. Beloved Badger,

        We took on Toscano salary, when we traded for Bud Norris.

        I didn’t see Olivera mentioned in that article, but not to long ago, I did read we were still paying his salary, along with Kemp’s.

        1. Thanks.

          I’ve seen dozens of her photoshopped pics. That’s a good one.

          Have you ever seen the ones of her without makeup? Yoiks.

          1. Bum

            Badger mentioned a name about a new cabinet person, so I looked it up, and made a comment.

            This guy got all over me for talking politics, and he made it sound like I took what Badger mentioned to far.

            I really didn’t write much, in that response.

            And at the end of that guy’s sentence, he called Badger, beloved Badger.

    1. I think it is better to sign Turner, and trade for a second basemen, that can hit lefties well.

      Then bring another outfielder, like Clutch to the team.

      He might have a big first year, but I don’t think a two year rental like Clutch will be, is worth one of our top young pitching prospects,

      1. If McCutchen is indeed for sale, we will be outbid.

        Now there’s a bold prediction.

        Pirates want an outfielder and pitching. Ethier and MCarthy. There. It’s done.

        1. The Pirates want a stop gap outfielder to help with the transition to Meadows. Harrison is also available because they want to get rid of his salary.

          Ethier’s salary could be bought down in a trade for those two in a bigger package.

        1. Hello MJ! It’s Paul and I am not convinced that Baez would be handed closer duties if Jansen goes elsewhere. Baez has basically tanked in 3 straight post seasons when it was crunch time and and his tendency for giving up HR’s is another factor here.

          1. PDF

            I totally agree!

            Mark said he wouldn’t mind Baez being the next closer, in a previous article, so when Richie mentioned Baez, I had to bring that up, to tease Mark, about saying that.

            The funny part is that I seemed to be the only one to see that.

  1. Yeah Toscano was the mystery man of the day. An outfield of McC, Joc, and Puig sounds pretty good. Asking if McC can play LF is irrelevant with this administration.

  2. Any elite athlete who plays for the Pirates who have no chance of winning would have an attitude problem – he needs to get outta’ Pittsburgh!

  3. Depends on what it takes. Maybe a guy like Kike, and a couple of lower level pitchers, or maybe Kike, Hatcher and Liberatore. Kike can play multiple positions and the Pirates would covet that. Since the Dodgers traded for Nuno, they have a surplus of LH relievers, and Hatcher is a bust in LA but throws heat…….

  4. Non tender deadline tomorrow. If Cutch is acquired he can’t get #22………..the quiet from the Dodgers FO at this point is deafening.

  5. With 2 years max on the contract, a McC trade isn’t a bad idea. It coincides with his age decline. I wouldn’t pay too much for him. Maybe a lower level pitcher or 2. The Pirates have been contenders until the last couple of years. I think they lost a play in game against the giants a few years ago, and we all know how that went. Still, playing in LA might energize the guy.

    1. Bobbie 17

      Actually the Pirates did play in the wild card game in 2015, so this was the first year that they haven’t made the playoffs, in the last three years.

  6. Maybe his change of scenery is not Los Angeles…

    Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi)
    11 mins ago – View on Twitter
    #Pirates and #Nationals have had serious talks about an Andrew McCutchen trade, source confirms @Ken_Rosenthal and @jaysonst reports. @MLB

    1. What would the Nationals want with him? They have a good prospect center fielder almost ready. Toles might be a better choice for them in CF. I wonder if the Nats have anybody really young on their team I might like to see on the Dodgers?

      1. According to the story…..the Nationals want to move that kid from CF to SS and I assume you are talking about Trey Turner.

  7. Nationals make sense. They are one of only 29 teams that would outbid us.

    What the Pirates need in exchange for any of their players is a salary cap.

  8. One good change on the CBA I like. The minimum DL stay is now 10 days instead of 15. Now maybe managers will be more inclined to put lightly injured players on the DL instead of keeping them on the bench and playing short handed.

    Another: Snuff is outlawed for incoming players.

    1. Wondering

      You are right that can be annoying, especially when the managers usually end up having to put these players on the DL eventually.

    1. Hello, dodgerrick and I concur. We just have to find a way to balance out the lineup, as not all the run producing should just be coming from the left side, as we saw what happened last year with those players not able to hit LHP.

  9. With all our other issues and all the outfielders we already have and the guys we have in the pipeline, we don’t need Cutch. Better for the stat-hounds to figure out how to “optimize” the production of Puig, get the best out of the remaining year of Ethier and see if you really did find a winner in Toles. And here’s another big find if Andrew & company can sniff it out–check out the bench. If Van Slyke is healthy–you guys should know–he can go a long way toward fixing the problem with hitting lefties–platooned with Toles or Ethier. Don’t waste any more prospects like your failed trade for Hill and Josh. ANOTHER TOPIC: Thinking of going to Camelback this winter to check out the future, but can only go before the exhibition games start. So–a question–is it worth going for the workouts–is it like Vero, where I went a couple of times, where you can wander all over? Where is a good place to stay? Any thoughts? Badger? Mark? Anyone?

    1. I got nothin. Never been down there in winter.

      Your point about no-trade resonates with me. I’ve been a Puig supporter for a long time, he stays on my team, but I would love to have McCutchen in left field. I know it would take too much to get him so, forget it.

    2. I used to live there. You can walk from field to field and watch the workouts really easily. Easy access to the players and lots of chances for autographs. Camelback is right off of loop 101, so there are lots of hotels in the area from motel 6 on up. You might get a chance to watch an intra squad game. The Sox use the same complex so you can watch their players too. Lots of parking and the gift shop is open!

    3. I would suggest you call the Dodgers Office at Camelback and ask. Tell them you are long time fan and see if they can arrange a tour.

    4. Love that name of yours and it may be because I am a HUGE fan of ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer. As far as Cutch goes, I believe Dodgers should concentrate on first signing JT but also if a trade is worked out 1 or 2 RH bats that hit LHP is IMPERATIVE! To much of a lefty dominant lineup and we will see a bunch of lefties thrown at us as it is if problem remains. Lowest BA of .213 in all of MLB.

    1. Mark wanted Baez to be the closer and I think I said Puig would come up with an off speed pitch faster than Baez if Puig were to close.

      MJ, wasn’t Corona known as the circle city with an annual indy-type car race? Was Huntington Beach your go-to beach?

      1. That’s a tough one, Fred. There are race tracks in Fontana, Ontario, Pomona, Irwindale and several other cities. I think Fontana is the biggest but I really don’t know, Neck-Car Racing is not my thing…

          1. Yep. I went to the first one. Boring. Round and round and round and round. Noise level was excruciating for hours. Ended up in the parking lot with a headache.

      2. Bum

        Yes in Corona there is a street named Grand Ave, that goes into a complete circle.

        They did use to have those old time races on Grand, and that is why Corona is often called the circle city.

        In Spanish Corona means Crown, but it can also mean circle.

        Crowns are circular, so that makes sense.

        I think we use to go to Newport more, because it was a little closer.

        But my dad took me to Huntington when I was young.

        Remember there was no 91 freeway back then, so we had to drive that two way highway, through the canyon, to get to the 55.

  10. I just read the end of the last thread. Box sounds like a moron with his political rants. I’ve learned to skim his non-baseball related posts as 1) he and I don’t agree, and 2) he has zero ability to express his viewpoints in a non Trump-esque type rant. I”m still not sure why politics is on this board, but it makes for some annoying reading (skimming)

    Back to baseball. ………

    1. Another rumor floating around on the Pirate site: They are targeting Kazmir and Josh Harrisons name has popped up.
      Could it be that both tumors could be true and put together? McCutchen & Harrison for Kazmir, DeLeon, and pick a name(s).

      1. I posted something similar. The Pirates want to unload Harrison and he’s a FAZ type of player. I’d be interested in JH alone but a package with MCC could allow the Dodgers to package a deal that could buy down a bad contract with some prospects not named Buehler, Alvarez, or Bellinger.

        1. Harrison is a good utility player, but I don’t think he had that good of a year last year.

          And I know the Pirates signed him to a multi year contract, not to long ago.

          1. Harrison had a down year but I would bet on more out of him than Utley. Good chance to buy low. Excellent defender, can play multiple positions, not overly expensive for LA, good speed, bats RH, and just two years left on deal.

            Jung Ho Kang got arrested in Korea so they may not want to deal Harrison after such news.

      2. I dont buy the idea that McCarthy and Kazmir can’t be moved after some off the deals that have gone to bad pitchers. Kazmir would surprise me the most, but if he can pass a physical and the Dodgers buy down the contact to about $10m a year someone may want him for the back end of their rotation. McCarthy is two years removed from TJ and was throwing 93 mph last year. He is only owed $20 million over the next two years. He can be moved. Look at the deals Morton, Volquez, and Cashner got.

        1. Hawkeye

          You are probably right about the Pirates not wanting to get rid of Harrison, after that news on Kang.

          Because I think the Pirates were counting on Kang.

          Harrison has two years left on his contract, at about 7.5 million a year.

  11. There was an interesting story on DodgerBlue about what would it have been like if Roberto Clemente had stayed a Dodger. Would have been interesting because Brooklyn was getting tired of Carl Furillo. He was having injury problems and missing time, and they were actually in talks with the Phillies about Richie Ashburn. A Dodger OF with 3 HOFer’s. Ashburn in LF, Snider in CF and Clemente in RF. What made them attempt to hide Clemente at AAA Montreal? The emergence of Sandy Amoros………In hindsight I think they blew it.

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