Despite repeated statements by Pirates GM Neal Huntington that Andrew McCutchen is not available, teams continue to ask about the Bucs center fielder, according to what sources are telling Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
McCutchen, 30, is a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting every year from 2012-15, while actually winning the award in 2013.
However, last season was not very kind to McCutchen as he endured the worst season of his career, batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 homers and 79 RBI. His defense in center field has also reached an all time low.
McCutchen is owed $14 million in 2017 and he comes with a team option worth $14.5 million for the 2018 season. That’s not too bad for teams that may want to gamble that last year was a fluke and that Cutch will bounce back.
Huntington created a real problem for himself as it was no secret he was aggressively shopping McCutchen at the Winter Meetings. It’s going to tough to see a star like McCutchen, who wears his heart on his sleeve, face all those trade questions in spring training, and that’s why many believe there’s still a chance he will be dealt.
The Mets reportedly checked in on McCutchen last month, but there was never any traction between the two teams and talks never progressed to anything serious. One MLB insider told MMO that the Mets were simply “kicking the tires.”
With GM Sandy Alderson admitting that the team expects payroll to be lower than the current $150 million level by Opening Day, the Mets would have to move both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson to make room for McCutchen, and quite honestly they are having a problem just moving one of them.
Eventually, the Mets will find a team that will take Bruce off their hands even if they have to eat $5 million dollars. That will leave the Mets with Yoenis Cespedes in left, Michael Conforto in right, and a platoon of Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in center.
And you know what? I believe the Mets outfield will be one of the top producing outfields in 2017. Cespedes could have his best season yet, Conforto is too good not to bounce back with a breakthrough season, and a Grandy & Lagares platoon in center will be more productive than you think.