It is now Day 2 of the 2018 Winter Meetings, and the chaos of rumors have circulated every team representative in a timely manner. For the first time since Game 5 of the World Series, other names than Machado and Harper have been thrown around by baseball experts, and although the Phillies seemed head-on focused on landing Harper, they have shown they’re not content with waiting for just him.
On December 11, the Phillies have signed veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen for 3 years, worth $50 million according to Jess Passan of Yahoo Sports.
The 32-year-old veteran McCutchen will wear the white and red this year for his 11th season in the bigs. Although being a late addition to the Yankees playoff run last season, this team will be his third of the calendar year of 2018. Before becoming a Yankee at the August trade deadline, he played 130 games with the San Francisco Giants. The stats combining the two teams were not his best, however, as he had a career low in batting average (.255), slugging (.424), and a career high in strikeouts (145).
Looking at this transition year would be disrespectful for how impressive his career was in Pittsburgh. In nine years with the Pirates, McCutchen was a gold glove athlete in center field, and a powerhouse at the plate. He batted .291 with a .487 slugging percentage and an .866 OPS, with nearly 300 doubles and over 200 homeruns. McCutchen is a five time All Star, 4-time Silver Slugger, which also includes a 2012 Gold Glove in center and was the NL MVP of 2013.
The Phillies acquiring a talent like McCutchen, especially for the relatively cheap price, seems like a deal that is impossible to not be excited over. Although, there are two questions that come with the former MVP.
For one, his best years are undoubtedly behind him. His last All-Star Selection was in 2015 and he is coming off his worst offensive year, which was also his first year with a new team. To add, he has been
moved into a corner outfield role of recent due to his decreased range in the position with age and injuries. Although this does eliminate the stress of working him around Herrera, who has earned that starting spot after his impressive rookie season, it still could be seen as a red flag.
Another question is simply put: what about Bryce Harper? Will there still be room for his contract in cap space and in the outfield? This seems like a lesser problem logistically, but since there has been a slowdown in momentum with the blockbuster signing, could this be a sign that the Phillies are looking to work around possibly not signing Harper? It can certainly be done, both to show the teams aggression for this season, along with keeping pace with the other big moves occurring around the NL East.
The Winter Meetings and entire offseason are still young, and from the looks of it, the Phillies will be big spenders. Whether they land one of the biggest free agents in Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, get much needed pitching help in the rotation or bullpen, or any other asset to coincide with the young and talented team we will all wait and see. From what it seems at this point is that the Phillies work this offseason has just begun.
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