This is the second consecutive offseason that Cutch’s name has circulated in trade rumors regarding the Mets and the Pirates. Rosenthal notes that a deal is not close, but the name has been floated around. However, due to New York’s weak farm system, it is more likely that the Mets look to upgrade their outfield via the free agent market rather than the trade market.
Heading into the new year, the Mets have an outfield that is comprised of Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, with Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo also in the mix heading into this year’s spring training. With a need for another solid outfielder, the Mets are almost certain to add an asset before the offseason concludes.
McCutchen, 31, is in the final year of his contract where he is set to earn $14.75 million before he hits free agency as a part of next year’s loaded free agent class. The former MVP rebounded nicely from a down 2016 season, producing at a solid .279/.363/.486 clip with 28 home runs, 88 RBIs, and 30 doubles to go along with 11 steals in 2017. McCutchen shifted over to right field briefly in 2017, though it is likely he would be back in center as a part of the Mets outfield in the event that he was dealt.
The Pirates appear to have a crowded outfield heading into this season with Starling Marte, Austin Meadows, Gregory Polanco and others all battling for playing time, which makes McCutchen expendable in a contract year. The Mets will look to rebound off a 70-92 season where the club left a lot to be desired. Likewise, the Pirates will be looking to improve upon their equally disappointing 75-87 finish in 2017. For the Mets, Cutch could provide them with a major boost in the right direction.