The New York Mets came into this offseason with one major task at hand: re-sign Yoenis Cespedes. The Winter Meetings have come to an end and the Mets have already achieved that tough task by resigning their power hitting outfielder to a 4-year $110 million deal. Now that the Mets have Cespedes locked up, they have to make one more big splash.
The New York Mets need to go out and trade for Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder and 2014 NL MVP, Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates have been trying to move Cutch since the beginning of the Winter Meetings, with them still not finding a match the Mets should sneak in. The Washington Nationals expressed the most interest, however they traded a boatload of prospects to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton.
Last year was a real down year for McCutchen as he was bothered by a wrist injury for a couple of months. In 153 games he hit .256 with 24 HR’s and 79 RBI’s, the 24 HR’s marked the sixth straight season in which he’s hit 20 or ore home runs. Granted McCutchen could be seeing some regression as he gets into the later stages of his career. However, excluding the months of June and July when he dealt with the injury the most, he hit to an average of .265. Later in the season the outfielder got as hot as can be, as he hit to an average of .324 while slugging an outstanding mark of .559. To further prove that the regression is likely due to the injury, Cutch hit .314 with 25 HR’s just two years ago.
Besides the injury history the only other main concern that comes along with McCutchen is his defense. Among all centerfielders, Cutch ranked last in defensive runs save with a mark of -28, and was also last in defensive wins above replacement with -2.6.. He is at least an average to below-average centerfielder. After last season McCutchen said he doesn’t see himself “needing to move,” when asked about switching to a corner outfield position.
The thing I like about McCutchen is that as good of a ball player as he is on the field, he’s an even better man off the field. He is very similar to Curtis Granderson, fan-favorite, very involved in the community off the field. Cutch, the face of the Pirates franchise, would be welcomed real well here, and I think he would be a fan favorite real quick. A trade to New York would give him the chance to team up with his hold teammate in Pittsburgh, Mets second baseman Neil Walker. McCutchen would also provide an excellent veteran presence, and some postseason experience.
How can the Mets pull this off? Trade both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce for bullpen help and prospects. Trade for McCutchen using prospects not names Amed Rosario. Play an outfield of Yoenis Cespedes, Andrew McCutchen, and Michael Conforto with Juan Lagares doing off the bench as a late inning defensive replacement.
You’re all probably saying alright nice, but why should the mets do this? Get to the point already.
Well… 1) The time is now for these Mets, with Cespedes resigning I feel they are one or two bats away from being elite, and the addition to McCutchen to that lineup would provide even more of a threat … 2) We’ve all heard about the super rotation the Mets have when all stay healthy, well they are running out of time to win with this group all together, Sandy Alderson has to pull another “win now” move to set this group up for hopefully another World Series run … 3) McCutchen’s contract is very team friendly as he is set to make $14 million on a deal that expires after the 2017 season, with a $14.5 million club option for the 2018 season … 4) Yes I was knocking McCutchen’s defense before, however he can handle centerfield everyday, with him you don’t have to worry about platoon’s, with Bruce and Grandy traded Michael Conforto can now play everyday, and Juan Lagares can be on the bench as a defensive replacement.
As I’ve already said I feel this team still needs another bat to get them over the top. Is Andrew McCutchen that bat? I do not know. But hopefully we will find out.