San Francisco Giants: Making the case for trading Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 28: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on June 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 28: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on June 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants’ chances of making the postseason are quickly dwindling as we approach the final month of the regular season.

The San Francisco Giants (62-65) currently sits in fourth place, eight games out of the second Wild Card slot and an additional half game out of the NL West.

After going 7-11 in August, the Giants now find themselves facing the largest deficit that they’ve had all season.

Now, with only 35 games remaining in the regular season, the team has seemingly already begun to look to ahead to 2019.

Last night, reports came out that Buster Posey is expected to undergo season-ending hip surgery. And earlier today, reports indicated that the club placed Andrew McCutchen on revocable waivers amid the August waiver deadline.

Both reports aren’t surprising, considering Posey has been ailed by his hip all season long and McCutchen has played the most games of any other Giant on the roster. But is it the right move to trade McCutchen before he becomes an unrestricted free agent?

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The answer, perhaps to the displeasure of Giants’ fans, is yes.

Andrew McCutchen, 31, is a shell of his former self. His slash rate sits at a career low .255/.353/.412, and he’s only hit 14 home runs, which is his lowest home run total since his rookie season.

Despite no longer being the same player as he was back in 2013, when he won the NL MVP, McCutchen could still provide value to a contending team.

He’s a viable outfielder who can play all three outfield positions, and while he’s not hitting for power as much, he’s still a more than capable middle of the order hitter with on-base threat upside.

Overall, McCutchen is still grading out to a 2.0 WAR on both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference. So, there shouldn’t be an issue finding another club to trade ‘Cutch to.

The Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, and even cross-town rival Oakland Athletics could be a few teams that look to claim McCutchen. Injuries have depleted the Astros, the Athletics could use a veteran bat in their lineup, and the Indians were targeting Adam Jones at the trade deadline.

So why should the Giants trade McCutchen? Well, at 31-years old and sitting almost ten games out of a playoff spot, what does he bring to your ball club?

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Opportunity.  By trading McCutchen, you not only give him a chance to contend for a championship but also open up a lineup spot in the outfield to allow the younger players to play.

Return Value:  The Giants farm system isn’t great, Bleacher Report ranked their farm system 25th out of 30 teams in the MLB. So any young talent they can bring in for a player that is a free agent at the end of the season would be a positive in a season that didn’t conclude with a playoff appearance.

Contract:  McCutchen is an impending free agent after this season and is still owed a little over $3.23M for the remainder of the season. The Giants aren’t guaranteed to retain McCutchen after this season, and if they unload him to a contender, they would better position themselves to stay under the $197M luxury tax threshold, where they currently have less than $300,000 to work with.

All in all, it was a disappointing season for Giants fans. They went all-in this past offseason by signing Tony Watson and acquiring McCutchen and Evan Longoria.

Unfortunately, injuries to Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija didn’t really allow them to get a full crack at this season. The experiment might not have worked out this season. But that doesn’t mean they should be stubborn and close themselves out of opportunities to help build their future.

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Heck, who knows, they might even be able to sign McCutchen during free agency. That would be taking a page out of the Yankees playbook when they traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and signed him the next offseason.