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Mets Offseason Free Agent Candidate: Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 10: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at AT&T Park on July 10, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 10: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at AT&T Park on July 10, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets will likely explore the free agent market again this offseason. One candidate I expect them to consider is former MVP Andrew McCutchen.

Even just two years ago, if I told you Andrew McCutchen would play for the New York Mets, you would jump out of your Jerry Blevins giveaway socks. In 2018, the story is quite different.

McCutchen finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting four consecutive years from 2012-2015. In 2013, he took home the award as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Now with the San Francisco Giants, we’re seeing the lighter side of McCutchen. He’s beginning to decline at a steady rate, hurting the free agent contract he’ll receive in the offseason.

For the Mets, this could mean landing a quality player at a bargain should they choose to go in that direction.

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Like all free agents, there are pros and cons. McCutchen carries far more of the latter. He’s a guy that will surely have a few bad years on the back end of his contract. Anyone who signs him must consider that he may have productive numbers for only the first two seasons with them.

The 2018 campaign hasn’t been a complete disgrace. McCutchen’s OBP is about where it has been for the past few years and it’s far higher than the average MLB player. Mostly, it’s his run production that has many concerned.

A specific problem, he’s not hitting as many home runs or driving in his teammates as regularly. This could be a side effect of playing in San Francisco. While many teams could overlook this, the Mets don’t play in a hitter’s ballpark. So, maybe this is the best version of McCutchen they could expect.

McCutchen does bring something to the table. His experience as a leader in Pittsburgh and ability to play center field as needed make him far more valuable than others the Mets brought in this past offseason, namely Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. His right-handed stick would also look nice in a lineup filled with too many lefties.

These factors, however, don’t appeal to me over the chaos he could bring.

McCutchen is the kind of free agent a team missing a single piece should add, overpay for on a short-term deal, and hope he can play better with talent around him. If he batted left-handed, the New York Yankees would be a fit.

It’s free agents like McCutchen that the Mets should stay away from. However, it’s guys like him I have no doubt they will explore extensively in the offseason. Before you go tracking me down on Twitter to tell me how foolish I am, remember the front office we’re talking about.

The Mets could use Jose Abreu in 2019. Next

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To save us all some time, Adam Jones fits the same description as McCutchen to an even lesser extent. Jones doesn’t have nearly the same pedigree as McCutchen and appears to have declined further than the 2013 MVP. Neither is right for the Mets as presently constructed.

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