Andrew McCutchen

Ex-Giant Andrew McCutchen gets Yankees makeover ahead of New York move

Ex-Giant Andrew McCutchen gets Yankees makeover ahead of New York move

After his trade to the New York Yankees, ex-Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen didn't just have to say goodbye to his teammates. He also bid adieu to his facial hair. 

The Yankees famously prohibit their players from growing facial hair, and a clean-cut McCutchen shared his new look on his Instagram story on Friday. 

Photo Courtesy: @cutchtwenty2/Instagram 

McCutchen also tweeted his appreciation for his short time in San Francisco. 

At the time of the trade, McCutchen led the Giants in nearly every major offensive category, as well as games played. New York manager Aaron Boone said McCutchen will meet his new teammates, without his facial hair, on Saturday. 

Brian Sabean rooting for Andrew McCutchen: 'I hope he wins a ring' with Yankees

Brian Sabean rooting for Andrew McCutchen: 'I hope he wins a ring' with Yankees

SAN FRANCISCO — Brian Sabean sat in the dugout at AT&T Park on Friday afternoon with a World Series ring on his right hand. As he explained a trade that sent his best hitter to New York, Sabean referenced the game’s greatest prize.

"I hope he wins a ring,” he said of Andrew McCutchen, now a Yankee. “He’s invested a lot in this game. He’s the real deal. We need more McCutchens in baseball.”

The Giants, throughout the organization, think highly of McCutchen, who made an impact on and off the field in his 130 games in orange and black. Sabean said it’s possible they will try to bring him back in the offseason, calling the right fielder “a breath of fresh air” and “as advertised.”

McCutchen has not spoken publicly since the trade was finalized. He’s on a flight to New York, where he will join a powerful lineup that almost certainly will host the American League’s Wild Card Game. The Giants hoped to stay in the National League’s playoff picture, but Wednesday’s loss to the Diamondbacks was the tipping point. Instead of being five games back of the Diamondbacks, the Giants were seven back, with the Dodgers and Rockies also well ahead. 

“We were hoping to sweep Arizona and we didn’t,” Sabean said. “The odds became taller. (Trading McCutchen) was the prudent thing to do. Three teams in front of us and we’re running out of games.”

Sabean said he has not given up on the season — “we don’t like to surrender,” he said — but the page has turned to 2019 nonetheless. Chris Shaw was recalled and will get the majority of the time in left field. The Giants will evaluate what they have there, and with Shaw’s former team they will get an immediate look at the prize of the McCutchen deal. Abiatal Avelino will join Triple-A Sacramento in Las Vegas and begin playing right away. 

“He’s been more of a defensive player with plus speed and arm strength and the ability to play in the middle of the field,” general manager Bobby Evans said of Avelino. “He can play all over.”

Avelino’s numbers have taken a noticeable dip since a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A but Evans said that’s never been his game anyway. The Giants view him as a defender first and foremost, and Evans believes he can “hold his own” defensively at shortstop. 

The other prospect, 20-year-old right-hander Juan De Paula, is more of a lottery ticket. 

“He’ll continue to progress as a starter in our system,” Evans said. “He has a plus fastball and is a good athlete.”

The return was a relatively good one for a one-month rental, but it was still hard for team officials to be too positive Friday. This was not a good day for a group that has won three championships. They believed McCutchen could help lead them back to the postseason, but they’re far from that goal, though the now departed right fielder was not at fault. Acquiring McCutchen was the right move, but he alone could not solve this team’s many problems. 

“We, for most of the year, have either been in a position with one hand tied behind our back or two,” Sabean said. “Our record could be better if we were just league-average with runners in scoring position and finished some games.”

Those flaws existed and still do, and because of that, Andrew McCutchen is now a Yankee. 

Evaluating how Giants fared in trading Andrew McCutchen to Yankees

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AP

Evaluating how Giants fared in trading Andrew McCutchen to Yankees

SAN FRANCISCO — If everyone had stayed healthy, there was a chance that Friday night’s lineup would have had Andrew McCutchen hitting leadoff, Steven Duggar second, and Buster Posey third. Posey has already had surgery. Duggar is headed for surgery. McCutchen is now headed for New York. 

It’s been that kind of season for the Giants, and on Friday they raised the white flag a bit higher, trading their most consistent hitter to the Yankees in exchange for two prospects. It all made sense, or should have, but in case you still have questions, here are some answers … 

Why did the Giants trade their best hitter?

Simply put, they had to. They were not going to give McCutchen a qualifying offer because it’s about $4 million more than he was making this season, so once the white flag went up, the only way to get some value was to trade him away. McCutchen cleared waivers last week so the Giants could trade him anywhere. 

Ok, then why didn’t they do this July 31?

First and foremost, few in the organization were ready to throw in the towel before the July 31 deadline. The front office did not feel this was a particularly strong team — thus the lack of additions — but also didn’t feel it was the right time to tear it down. They wanted to give the roster a shot to make an August run, and instead the Giants fell further behind. It seems unrealistic now, but what if the Giants had taken two of three in Cincinnati, as they should have? What if they don't implode against the Rangers? There was a very slim path to contending in September, but the Giants could have walked it had they played cleaner baseball in August. They did not, and it became time to give up. 

There’s another aspect here, too. The Giants took calls on McCutchen before the initial deadline but the interest just wasn’t really there. The Cleveland Indians liked him but never went in too hard, and the Yankees weren’t as aggressive at the time. Perhaps they learned something about Aaron Judge in recent days that they did not know at the end of July when he first went down with a wrist injury. 

Is McCutchen gone for good? 

Not necessarily. The Giants were considering a reunion, and McCutchen, even at this stage of his career, will be one of the better outfielders available. McCutchen had talked to some teammates about returning and it’s believed he really liked playing in San Francisco, but we’ll see if those good vibes are still there in November. A reunion is certainly possible, though, and if the Giants can bring him back on a one- or two-year deal after getting prospects for him, they’ve done pretty well. 

Did the Giants do well even if he doesn’t return?

It appears they did. Abiatal Avelino is ranked as the 23rd best prospect in the Yankees’ system and Juan De Paula is No. 26, according to MLB Pipeline. But it’s a much better system than the Giants’ system, and Pipeline puts them at No. 17 and 18 for the Giants after the trade. 

Avelino is a 23-year-old who broke through at Double-A this season, showing power and speed, but has taken a step back in Triple-A. With the Yankees, he was hopelessly blocked, but the Giants don't have much middle infield depth in the minors, so he could have an opportunity to move quickly. It's possible he becomes part of the mix to replace Joe Panik if the Giants decide to non-tender him. 

De Paula is the kind of player you want in a deal like this, a big 20-year-old who already throws pretty hard. De Paula averages a strikeout per inning but also walks too many hitters. He’s a lottery ticket, but perhaps one day down the line he’ll turn into something meaningful. 

Can we stop talking about the CBT?

Yes. The Giants already were confident they would stay below it, but this finalizes it. They will stay under $197 million, resetting their penalties, and can do whatever they want in free agency this offseason. 

What should the Giants do next? 

They're doing what they should do: Chris Shaw has been called up, and should get an extended look over the final 27 games. The Giants need to figure out what they have in Shaw and Austin Slater. They also figure to give Hunter Pence a few starts in right field over the final two homestands of his contract. 

What does this mean for McCutchen?

The Giants seem to have done pretty well, but for McCutchen, this couldn’t have worked out any better. He’s a good teammate who became a fan favorite in a second city, and he now has his best shot at winning that first ring. It’s not something McCutchen talked about often, but those close to him say there’s a desire to win, and he was hurt by the lack of a push the Pirates made when they had teams capable of making a run. The Yankees have as good a shot as anyone, and McCutchen may now get a real chance to become a postseason star. Out here, 3,000 miles away, all we can hope is that he continues to Instagram Story the whole experience.