Since the season ended, Phillies fans have anxiously awaited the day when the team would come to terms with a certain MVP-winning outfielder. Anxiously await no further, my friends, for that day is finally here!
Phillies in agreement with Andrew McCutchen pending physical. It will be three yr deal— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 11, 2018
The Andrew McCutchen deal is for three years -- plus a club option -- and $50 million, according to sources.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 11, 2018
Oh, did you think I was talking about Bryce Harper? No, while he and Scott Boras engage on their “Give us all your money” tour in Las Vegas, the Phillies went ahead and agreed to terms with outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
This news would have been more exciting had it come in 2015 when McCutchen was one of the best players in baseball. The past three seasons, he’s been something other than that. He slashed .255/.368/.424 in 2018, splitting time between the Giants and the Yankees. Those aren’t bad numbers for a corner outfielder, but entering his age 32 season, we probably shouldn’t expect him to win any more Silver Slugger awards.
So what should we expect? Let’s ask someone smart:
What you get with Andrew McCutchen is health & stability.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) December 11, 2018
2010: 154 games 3.5 WAR
'11: 158 games 5.5 WAR
'12: 157 games 7.4 WAR
'13: 157 games 8.1 WAR
'14: 146 games 7.4 WAR
'15: 157 games 6.0 WAR
'16: 153 games 1.1 WAR
'17: 156 games 3.7 WAR
'18: 155 games 2.6 WAR https://t.co/UcbrzmAfm5
Like every other Phillies fan who read the news, my initial reaction to this news was, “I guess that means they’re out on Harper.” Once again, I’ll consult with someone smart to see if that’s actually the case.
Signing Andrew McCutchen likely means the team is out on Michael Brantley or A.J. Pollock. It does NOT mean they are out on Bryce Harper. So don't stress yet, kids.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) December 11, 2018
Both @MattGelb and I are hearing same from multiple sources. Told addition of McCutchen would NOT preclude #Phillies from signing another outfielder, whether it’s Harper or someone else. https://t.co/ToylyfCwL7— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
That’s probably bad news for anyone with dreams of seeing Michael Brantley in a Phillies uniform, but it doesn’t necessarily end the possibility that Bryce Harper ends up in red pinstripes. It also likely means that at least one of the Phillies’ young outfielders - Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn - is going to be readily available on the trade market.
If this turns out to be the Phillies’ big move of the off-season, I will be upset. But for the moment, the Phillies seem to have upgraded one of their corner outfield spots.