The New York Yankees have tried to win without the likes of Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier for well over a month now. They’ve tried using players like Shane Robinson and Neil Walker as a stopgap, but the lack of production both offensively and defensively was too glaring to let it go until Judge made his eventual return. It hurt when the original three-week recovery plan for Judge’s wrist injury turned into over a month of no swinging for the slugger. But now they’ve seemed to have found the piece to take the place of the 6’8″ right fielder until he’s back.
Finally, time to don the pinstripes
The Yankees will acquire former MVP Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants according to multiple sources, including Buster Olney of ESPN. McCutchen and the Yankees have been paired many times before in trade talks, the most recent being the winter of 2016 when the Yankees came close to pulling off a three-team deal to acquire the outfielder from Pittsburgh and send prospects to them and the Chicago White Sox, but that deal fell through. Now, however, the man nicknamed “Cutch” finally seems to be Bronx-bound.
The 31-year-old spent the entirety of his career in Pittsburgh before being traded to the Giants last winter during the Pirates’ fire sale. In 130 games for San Francisco, he has hit .255 with a quality .357 OBP to go along with 15 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and 55 runs batted in. He’s played mainly right field for the Giants and has only committed 2 errors. Quality outfield defense is something the Yankees have sorely missed with Judge on the DL. McCutchen also adds a speed element the Yankees have also lacked, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner are the only Yankees with over 10 stolen bases this season. So the addition of another base stealer, even one over 30 years old, is a welcome addition.
The return package
The Giants will receive SS/2B Abiatal Avelino and a player to be named later. Avelino, the Yankees #23 prospect, has been fantastic for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s the owner of a .287 average combined between both levels and has successfully stolen 25 bases in the minors. The 23-year-old is finding his power stroke, having hit 15 home runs in 122 games this season after only hitting 16 in his previous six seasons in the Yankees farm system. Avelino’s big arm is arguably his best feature, and his defensive versatility is also a big plus.
All hands on deck
Yankees GM Brian Cashman could finally get the Yankees a quality outfielder to join Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner. They’re definitely going to need all of them and Aaron Judge sooner rather than later. The Giants got five good months from McCutchen and were able to turn his last month under contract into a highly regarded infield prospect.
Will Andrew McCutchen be able to help the Yankees make a real push for the American League East crown? Only time will tell.
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