The Giants are reported to have dealt right fielder Andrew McCutchen to the New York Yankees Thursday night in exchange for two prospects, including middle infielder Abiatal Avelino, who MLB Pipeline ranks as New York’s No. 23 prospect.
McCutchen has had a down year offensively, but he’s still leading the Giants in most offensive stats — HR, (15), RBI (55), hits (123), doubles (28), and stolen bases (13). Plus, he’s played in 130 of 135 games this season, providing continuity.
The offloading of McCutchen is a move many predicted would have come a month or more ago, ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline, with the middling, and at times free-falling, state of the Giants in the win-loss column in 2018.
Yankees get McCutchen: source
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 31, 2018
The trade instead comes just in time for the Yankees, who will be in Oakland Monday facing the A’s, to include McCutchen on their October roster, less than 24 hours before the waiver deadline. It also fills a serious need for New York as their every day right fielder Aaron Judge continues to recover from a broken wrist sustained in late July when he was hit by a pitch.
McCutchen, whose contract with the Giants would have run out at the end of 2018 anyway, joins a club that has been a presumed contender in October for months. Though they are eight games back of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East, New York leads the Wild Card race, four games ahead of the A’s in the second spot.
McCutchen was acquired in the last year of his six-year contract with Pittsburgh in exchange for right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds, and cash considerations. The Pirates picked up $2.5 million of the $14.75 million McCutchen was owed for 2018.
With the trade of ‘Cutch’ and Wednesday’s news that Steven Duggar‘s season is likely over, the Giants outfield may regress back to a familiar state. Grégor Blanco was called up Wednesday to replace Duggar, and he will probably back up Gorkys Hernández in center and Austin Slater in left. Meanwhile, Hunter Pence could retake right field, a position he held before San Francisco acquired McCutchen last winter.
This does potentially open the door for the power-hitting River Cats left fielder Chris Shaw to make his big league debut. But despite his 24 home runs this season, the Giants may still want him to get his strikeouts — he has 142 in just 100 games — under control before he gets promoted.
Avelino, 23, has split time between Double-A and Triple-A this season and is batting .287 with 15 home runs, eight triples, 66 RBI and 25 stolen bases.