Lets Find a Trade Partner for Andrew McCutchen8 min read
The new hot rumor is that the Pirates are after Jose Quintana, but in order to acquire him they need to swing a 3 way deal to offload Andrew McCutchen and use the prospects acquired to help bring in Quintana and his Pirates-Friendly 4 year contract. (If you are looking for some straight Jose Quintana trade hypotheticals, check out Jose Quintana Trade Partners) I am all for this, as Tyler Glasnow+McCutchen’s return could rival the Giolito/Lopez/Dunning return the White Sox got for Adam Eaton. Glasnow is much like Giolito, a tall right-hander with a huge fastball, control issues, and a meh big league stint in 2016. While these players certainly come with risk, I trust the White Sox with pitchers much more than anything else in the organization, so I am willing to bet they can harness that #1 starter potential and capitalize on both guys talent. So lets get McCutchen traded. The problem so far is the Pirates just can’t find a taker, which makes sense, cuz um… this graphic.
After his Mike Trout-esque 2013, in which he combined a 156 wRC+ with stellar CF defense, Cutch has slowly declined. Now, 6.8 and 5.8 WAR seasons aren’t anything to smirk at, thats easily All-Star production, if not MVP production. 2 years of that guy for $28 million is worth top prospects, as 12-15 wins is worth between $90-120 million on the open market, meaning Cutch is a $60-90 million dollar surplus value (Top 10 prospects are considered to be worth around $60-70 million surplus value for context). And the Pirates are looking for that kind of a return. The problem is the buying teams are seeing a 106 wRC+, terrible defense in center, and a grand 0.7 WAR in 2016. Nobody wants to give up top 50 prospects for a guy who is totally falling of a cliff and has to be moved to a corner because of his crappy defense. So the Pirates can’t find a buyer. I am here to remedy that situation, and get the White Sox a bunch of new prospects to continue the rebuild. The way I see it there a 3 possible fits, and I will rank them by how good a fit they are, not so much how likely they are (The Mets are cheap).
Framework of the Deal
White Sox Get: Tyler Glasnow (from PIT, MLB.com’s #8 overall prospect)
Pirates Get: Jose Quintana
3rd team Gets: Andrew McCutchen
Basically, the Pirates are trading McCutchen and Glasnow for Quintana, but McCutchen is coming in the form of the prospects they acquired for him.
Notable Omission: Ive seen rumors about the Toronto Blue Jays, but they just don’t have the prospects to swing this trade. Its going to take at least one top 50ish prospect, and the Jays don’t have that.
3) New York Yankees
White Sox Get: Tyler Glasnow, Blake Rutherford (#51 on MLB.com), Miguel Andujar, Dillon Tate
Pirates Get: Jose Quintana
Yankees Get: Andrew McCutchen
*Yanks trade Brett Gardner to replenish the farm system a bit in a separate deal. How about the Indians?
This makes more sense than people are giving it credit for. Everyone has the idea that the Yankees began a rebuild this summer, and should patiently wait for Torres, Frazier, Mateo and Sheffield to come up. Then they will be ready to compete, having signed Bryce Harper in 2018 free agency. The problem is their current roster doesn’t fit that plan. Seriously. Matt Holliday is signed for 1 year at DH, Masahiro Tanaka could potentially opt out after this season, and their big ticket free agent Aroldis Chapman is the ultimate win-now singing; the value in his $86 million dollar deal comes these first couple years, not the last few. By 2019 he probably isn’t even closing games. It makes no sense to maintain their current roster and just hope to maybe sneak into a couple Wild Card games in 2017 and 2018. As currently constructed, they are just too far behind the Red Sox to actually compete for the AL East. So they need to make an upgrade.
One way to do that is directly trade for Jose Quintana, but I can understand wanting to keep a hold of their two prized prospects acquired this trade deadline, Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres, and one of those two would certainly need to be in a Quintana trade. So instead, lets have them facilitate a Quintana trade, one that lands them Andrew McCutchen, who pushes Jacoby Ellsbury to left and sends Brett Gardner to a new team.
As for the actual trade itself, the White Sox supposedly coveted Blake Rutherford in the 2016 MLB draft, so he makes sense as a headliner along with Glasnow. Rutherford could one day be an all star outfielder, so he’s a great guy to get in the system. Even though he was only drafted a year ago, he is already MLB.com’s #51 prospect. Andujar is a great add as well, as he plays a position the Sox have a long-term hole (3B) and is still very young (21). Finally, the Sox get Professional Trade Piece Dillon Tate, who the Sox supposedly liked in the 2015 draft and could form a formidable back end of the bullpen with Zack Burdi in the future.
2) Seattle Mariners
White Sox Get: Tyler Glasnow, Kyle Lewis (#28), Tyler O’Neil (#60).
Pirates Get: Jose Quintana
Mariners Get: Andrew McCutchen
The Mariners, much like the team thats #1 on this list, don’t NEED McCutchen to compete for their division title. They have upgraded on last years 86 win team by acquiring Jean Segura and Danny Valencia. They will challenge the Astros for the AL West crown. But heres the thing: The Mariners window is NOW. These next 2 years (McCutchen is under contract for 2 years) are the Mariners chance. The only core player on their team who promises to improve these next couple years is Edwin Diaz, and he’s just the closer. The main guys; Cano, Cruz, King Felix, Seager, and Iwakuma, are what they are. If anything, they might decline. As for the Astros, they have guys like Correa, Altuve and Bregman locked up, so the future is all theirs. The Mariners need to go all in now. No time for prospect hugging. Supposedly, the Mariners were told the price for Cutch was Edwin Diaz, James Paxton and Tyler O’Neil (As mentioned in my piece, 5 Teams that should go for it). This didn’t work for the Mariners much, as they need Diaz and Paxton to compete in 2017 and 2018. But the White Sox don’t need these guys, 2017-2018 are going to be awful, awful years for them. Edwin Diaz is awesome, but he is wasted on a 60 win 2017 White Sox. So they represent a way the Mariners can maintain their current MLB team and add a potential All-Star in CF.
Yes, losing their #1 and #2 prospects in the entire system hurts. The 2019 Mariners are theoretically in a tough spot. But look, flags fly forever, and if the Mariners want to cash in on their $240 million dollar Robinson Cano investment, they are going to need to make a move to separate themselves from the Astros. McCutchen is just that. Who knows what Kyle Lewis and Tyler O’Neil become. As for the White Sox, they can afford to take the risk on Kyle Lewis, but the fact they passed on him with the #10 pick does make me question how much they really like him. Regardless, Lewis is a very high ceiling prospect, and O’Neil will be ready to play a corner OF spot for the 2017 White Sox. These are two guys who can lock down LF and RF for the next great White Sox team. This would be a solid return.
1) New York Mets
White Sox Get: Tyler Glasnow, Michael Conforto
Pirates Get: Jose Quintana
Mets Get: Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson
This has to happen. The Mets showed they give a shit and re-signed Yo. They are bringing back a very solid team. With their arms, they can push the Cubs, Dodgers and Nats, no question. But lets be real, they are the 4th horse in that race. They CAN beat them, but I would favor all 3 of those teams over the Mets in a series. The Mets offense just isn’t what it needs to be. One of their major problems is they have 4 corner outfielders; they desperately need a CF. Andrew McCutchen is that. Now I know, reports are they are already at their salary cap max, and if anything need to shed Salary. But the time is now Wilpon’s, and trading for McCutchen means Jay Bruce is gone, so that’s barely an addition in salary. Robertson’s salary is certainly a dent, but they are going to need someone to close with Familia set to miss a good chunk of time to suspension. If the Mets make this move they are looking like NL co-favorites with the Cubs.
As for the deal, this is a simple trade. The Mets trade 5 years of Michael Conforto for 2 years of Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. Conforto would almost certainly waste away between AAA and the bench this year, as the Mets have Grandson and Yo in the corners, and Lucas Duda at 1B. So they sack up and move him. Suddenly, the Mets add McCutchen to the lineup, and if his defense doesn’t recover, he is still better than Curtis Grandson, and you still have Juan Lagares for a late inning sub.
For the White Sox, Conforto is a terrific risk. After coming up in 2015 he put up a 133 wRC+ in 194 PA’s, good for 2.1 Wins. Then in 2016 he was constantly moved around, never got settled, and struggled to a 96 wRC+ in 348 PA’s. The White Sox can offer him a chance to get the 600 PA’s he deserves, and hopefully get a middle of the order masher in return. Glasnow and Conforto is a terrific return for Quintana and Robertson, as the Sox turn 4 years of Q and 2 years of Robertson into 11 years of Glasnow (6) and Conforto (5), a possible ace and 3 hitter. This would be my absolute dream trade, and I do think its makes a lot of sense.