Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen has cleared revocable trade waivers and is now eligible to be traded to any team, reports Robert Murray of The Athletic (on Twitter). It’s at least a mild surprise to see McCutchen clear, though he’s still owed a fairly notable $3.155MM of this season’s $14.75MM salary. He landed atop MLBTR’s most recent list of the top 20 remaining August trade candidates.
At the time he was placed on waivers, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly tweeted that there was a “very good chance” that the Giants would deal McCutchen, given the team’s increasing deficit in the NL West and the Wild Card race. McCutchen isn’t in the starting lineup for the Giants tonight, though skipper Bruce Bochy told reporters prior to first pitch that it was just a standard day off for the outfielder (link via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area).
McCutchen, 31, has turned in a .255/.353/.412 slash with 14 homers, 26 doubles and a pair of triples in his first and quite possibly only season with the Giants. That’s a far cry from the brilliant production that earned him National League MVP honors a few years back, though his bottom-line numbers have undoubtedly been weighed down a bit by his extremely pitcher-friendly home park. Context-neutral stats like OPS+ (108) and wRC+ (113) suggest he’s been anywhere from eight to 13 percent better than a league-average offensive player.
With McCutchen free to be traded anywhere, the Giants should find multiple teams with interest, and they’ll now be able to include some cash considerations to help offset a partial portion of his remaining salary. The Indians are reported to be in the market for outfield upgrades but are already well north of their franchise-record payroll, so perhaps they opted to pass on claiming him for fear of being stuck with an additional $3MM+.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are currently without Aaron Judge and are unable to play Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield due to hamstring issues that are limiting him to DH. Neil Walker has been playing right field for the first time in his career given that pair of injury issues. While both Judge and Stanton are expected back healthy by season’s end, adding McCutchen would give the team another solid bat and provide some cover while Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius mend.
That’s just a pair of clubs with obvious outfield needs, of course, and there could certainly be additional interest in McCutchen throughout the league. The Athletics stand out as another speculative on-paper fit, and yesterday’s trade of Daniel Murphy from the Nats to the Cubs serves as a reminder that teams are more keen than ever on stockpiling depth even if it means a short-term acquisition of a player who may not look like a clear fit when his new team’s roster is at full strength.