The Yankees have acquired outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Giants in a waiver-wire deal, as the New York Post’s Joel Sherman and ESPN’s Buster Olney first reportedlate Thursday night. Two prospects, shortstop Abiatal Avelino and right-handed pitcher Juan De Paula, head to San Francisco in return, while the Giants will also pay half of the roughly $2.4 million that’s still owed to McCutchen this year, per The Athletic’s Jim Bowden and Ken Rosenthal:
Yankees get McCutchen: source— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 31, 2018
Exact terms of McCutchen deal not yet known, but #Yankees and #SFGiants will share financial burden, roughly splitting $2.4M he is owed, per sources (split might not be exact, but is in that range). SFG will receive a minor-league pitcher in addition to infielder Abiatal Avelino.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 31, 2018
McCutchen, 31, got off to a bit of a slow start this season, but he’s recovered to the tune of a .255/.357/.415 slash line with 15 homers in 568 plate appearances. He’s a free agent after the season, but the Yankees will presumably have to pick up the balance of the $12.25 million salary the Giants owed him this season.
The Yankees had one of the best right fielders in the major leagues until Aaron Judge went down with a chip fracture in his right wrist on July 26. Since then, however, they’ve struggled to fill the void, with career second baseman Neil Walker, journeyman Shane Robinson, and primary DH Giancarlo Stanton splitting the duties in Judge’s absence (and when Stanton has played there, they’ve had to plug in another bench player into the lineup at DH or another spot, obviously). When Judge has been out of the lineup, Yankees right fielders have ranked last in the majors in batting average, 29th in OBP, and 29th in slugging, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out Thursday night. Considering that Judge’s progress has now slowed to the point where there’s no explicit timetable for his return, it seems like a wise move for the Yankees to stabilize the right field position with McCutchen.
Not that they particularly needed more, but McCutchen also adds to the Yankees’ tremendous star power. The Bronx Bomers now have two former NL MVPs, with McCutchen (2013) and Stanton (2017) part of their outfield mix.
The 23-year-old Avelino, the top prospect going to the Giants in the trade, was ranked as the Yankees’ No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline. He’s split his time between Double-A Trenton (two stints) and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (three stints) this season, tearing it up with a .337/.392/.553 line and 10 homers in 49 games at Trenton while posting a more mediocre stat line — .252/.291/.372 with five homers in 74 games — at Scranton. At the very least, Avelino figures to be a bench bat for the Giants in the not-too-distant future (perhaps as soon as September), but with Joe Panik delivering uninspiring results this season, it’s possible that he could push for the starting second base job at some point.
The 20-year-old De Paula, ranked by Pipeline as the Yankees’ No. 26 prospect, has been dominant at short-season Staten Island this year, posting a 1.71 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 10 games (nine starts). Obviously he still needs to sharpen up his command, as he has 46 strikeouts and 26 walks in 47.1 innings, but with a fastball in the mid-90s, his stuff clearly has the potential to be special if he can cut down on his walks.