As first reported by The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, free agent Andrew McCutchen reportedly agreed to a 3 year deal worth $50 million dollars and a club option for an additional 4th.
Ever since the Jean Segura trade, that sent 2018 first baseman Carlos Santana to Seattle and allowed Rhys Hoskins to move back to his natural position at 1st Base, a hole opened up in left field for a player with a nose for getting on base. Most Phillies fans would not have assumed that Cutch, not Bryce Harper, would be the the former NL MVP to sign with the team, but here we are. This signing is crucial on many different fronts because it upgrades the current outfield and still allows for flexibility when going star hunting. The former Yankee is pretty much a Carlos Santana offensively at this point in his career, but improves the overall defense even if he is not good himself. Over their age 29-31 seasons, before entering free agency, Santana hit .250/.362/.450 while McCutchen hit .263/.356/.446.
This not only does not affect the possible signing of mega superstar Bryce Harper, but frees up one of their young outfielders to trade, along with some of their young pitching talent, for another star. The most likely candidates at this current juncture are current Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto or Cleveland Indians starters Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. It is rumored the Phils would be willing to give a package of Nick Williams/Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin/Nick Pivetta, and consensus top 15 prospect Sixto Sanchez in order to acquire a second ace to Aaron Nola or a star catcher who brings offense and good base running.
The Phillies are in a much better spot then they were a few months ago with an upgraded lineup and better defense. Now the focus is to pick up another starter in a trade, like Kluber or Bauer, and add a LHP in the bullpen in either Andrew Miller or Zach Britton before finishing the off-season with one of the two big superstar free agents. All in all, the checklist is shortening for General Manager Matt Klentak, but there are still needs on the list, and money to spend. Other reports have surfaced recently that put the Chicago White Sox as direct competition for Harper/Machado; and others that say it is no longer a guarantee that Philadelphia signs one. I would say some of this is just a ploy by the front office to lower the price, as this is the off-season that has been marked on the calendar to build the organization’s next championship team, and both of them help out in a big way. Andrew McCutchen alone does not move the needle for the Philadelphia Phillies, but he is part of a lengthy list that could make the team perennial contenders, a list dwindling down by the day.
Follow Jordan on Twitter for all Philadelphia and sports wide analysis
Featured Image: https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.gettyimages.com%2Fphotos%2Fandrew-mccutchen-of-the-pittsburgh-pirates-steals-third-base-against-picture-id172578358&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gettyimages.co.uk%2Fevent%2Fphiladelphia-phillies-v-pittsburgh-pirates-163494392&docid=djgOkHCqyVjAWM&tbnid=Jmy2-EP5xH8WEM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwi2nd2mgZnfAhWQc98KHcFeA68QMwiyAShRMFE..i&w=1024&h=662&itg=1&safe=active&bih=610&biw=1366&q=andrew%20mccutchen%20phillies&ved=0ahUKEwi2nd2mgZnfAhWQc98KHcFeA68QMwiyAShRMFE&iact=mrc&uact=8