The Giants have placed outfielder Andrew McCutchen on revocable trade waivers, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports on Twitter. Those in need of a refresher on how dealmaking works during the month of August should follow this link.
In terms of timing, it’s not entirely clear exactly when McCutchen hit the waiver wire. If the placement occurred today, though, then other clubs will have until Wednesday to place claims. From there, the way things proceed will depend upon whether or not the veteran outfielder is claimed.
While we’ll need to wait on the details, a deal of some kind seems rather likely, as Baggarly notes. The Giants are now eight games out of the division lead with three teams ahead of them and not in much better shape in the Wild Card chase.
Some may wonder whether the Giants would prefer to keep McCutchen down the stretch, with designs on issuing him a qualifying offer at season’s end. But the QO ticket price is sure to land in the $18MM range, which seems like a steep rate for a player entering his age-32 season three years removed from elite offensive production.
Indeed, it’s at least questionable whether any organization will place a claim on Cutch, who’ll cost around $3MM for the rest of the season before hitting free agency. The Giants, presumably, will be willing to allow him to walk if a claim is made — or, if not, for a rather reasonable price that mostly involves cost savings.
None of that is to say that McCutchen is without appeal. He’s slashing .257/.354/.417 on the year, with 14 home runs in 528 plate appearances. That’s a far cry from his former output, but still good enough for a 114 wRC+. McCutchen sports a career-low .160 isolated slugging mark, and his baserunning grades have joined his defensive reputation in decline, but he can still draw a walk (12.1% BB rate) and actually carries a career-high 45.3% hard-hit rate. Indeed, Statcast numbers indicate he has underperformed the quality of contact he has made (.337 wOBA vs. .366 xwOBA).
It’s certainly possible, then, that a contender in search of a quality righty outfield bat (and highly respected veteran) will gladly take over McCutchen’s salary, if not also give up at least something of a return to the Giants. The National League clubs will get the first crack on the waiver wire. Teams that believe McCutchen has another gear left to reach may well jump on the opportunity, as it’s still not clear that any better options will come available.