McDonald: Too Many Moving Parts For The Mets To Get “Him” Andrew McCutchen

In one of the old James Bond movies, Bond kills the lead henchmen, so the villain gets on the phone to find another and after listening for a bit said, “Well if you can get him!”

“Him” for the Mets is apparently Andrew McCutchen and yesterday Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the team had preliminary discussions with the Pittsburgh Pirates about the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player.

It’s not a state secret the Pirates want to move their 30 year-old outfielder and looking up and down the lineup, the Mets could use an upgrade in center, which is now filled with square pegs fitting in round holes.

Even without the McCutchen trade talks, the Mets are looking to relieve themselves of an outfielder with either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson in discussions to move elsewhere. According to published reports, the Blue Jays, Orioles and Rangers are all interested and general manager Sandy Alderson will move one – if not both – by opening day.

In a perfect world, Bruce will be the one who will find a new home away from Queens, because the outfielder didn’t seem to fit into New York, unlike Granderson, who has excelled here for both the Mets and the Yankees since 2010.

That said, if you can get “him” then both of outfielders need to go and the Mets will put Michael Conforto in rightfield.

But there seems to be too many moving parts here for this plan to come together. Alderson has said he is having trouble moving one of his outfielders because of the glut of slugging on the market already. You can figure one will be traded by Spring Training, but both may be too much to ask, especially if the Mets are expecting to shed all of Bruce’s $13 million and Granderson’s $15 million off the payroll.

That said, it can be done, especially if Alderson will take the risk of bringing one of the players into camp knowing they may be stuck with an inflated payroll if a deal doesn’t happen by Opening Day.

Let’s say, though, they can get those deals done for lower level prospects and possibly a relief pitcher or two. Then they will have to deal with the Pirates, who are going to want top dollar for their centerfielder.

McCutchen has two more years on a very team friendly deal for a player of his caliber. He’s due to make $14 million this season and then $14.5 million as a team option in 2018.

But you have to wonder what player you are going to get. Last season, he had an off-year hitting .256 with 24 homers and 79 RBI with his WAR of -0.7. You have to figure he’s going to bounce back from that even though you shouldn’t expect the 6+ WAR he enjoyed in 2012-14.

However, the Pirates will be asking for a return based on those MVP type numbers. The Nationals were looking to send top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to Pittsburgh before they pivoted on Adam Eaton. And there’s no indication the price has some down. Obviously they will ask for the Mets one can’t miss prospect in Ahmed Rosaro, but the organization has deemed him untouchable and will probably be the club’s shortstop come the 2018 season.

So if you are not going to trade Rosario, will the Mets then include Steven Matz, Zach Wheeler, Seth Lugo and/or Robert Gsellman? That will be messing with the Mets rotational depth and as he learned last season, it’s something they may need as their starters come back from the mend.

Right now, it’s interesting talk. McCutchen would obviously fit in well to a lineup with Yoesnis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda, his buddy from the Pirates Neil Walker, Conforto and possibly David Wright, but there are so many moving parts to have this deal come together, you have to figure that this is nice talk right before the holidays.

However, if you can get “him” and “him” is Andrew McCutchen, then the Mets have to look into the possibility.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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