Showing posts with label Andrew McCutchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andrew McCutchen. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Andrew McCutchen trade makes little sense for Pittsburgh or San Francisco

Andrew McCutchen
Is anyone else confused by this trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants?

San Francisco acquired former league MVP Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates in exchange for right-hander Kyle Crick, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 of international money.

Do the Giants really believe they can win this year with this move? They are coming off a 98-loss season. They finished 40 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, and oh yeah, that division produced three playoff teams last season -- the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies were the NL wild-card teams.

I know the Giants added Evan Longoria this offseason, too, but he's similar to McCutchen -- still a good player, but a veteran on the downside of his career. McCutchen will be a free agent after the 2018 season, so this is very much a win-now move. But to me, San Francisco is going to have to hope other clubs in its division take big steps backward. The Giants look like a 75-win team to me, at best.

And what about the Pirates? That isn't a very good return for McCutchen. I had never heard Reynolds' name until he was included in this deal. Apparently, he's a switch-hitting outfielder who was drafted 59th overall in the 2016 draft. Good for him.

Crick is entering his age-25 season. He broke into the big leagues last year and compiled a 3.06 ERA in 30 relief appearances for the Giants.

Good for him, too, I guess, but if I'm a Pirates fan, I'm saying, "That's all we got for the player who has been the face of the franchise for the past five or six years?"

Yuck, all the way around.

Pittsburgh obviously is entering a rebuild phase. The Pirates traded Gerrit Cole to the Astros, too, in a move that makes a lot of sense for Houston.

The Astros are the defending champs, and they just added another guy who is top-of-the-rotation material in an effort to boost their chances of repeating. Unlike the Giants, the Astros have legitimate hopes of "winning now."

What did that cost Houston? Its fifth-best prospect in infielder Colin Moran, plus pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz and an outfield prospect named Jason Martin.

You make that deal in a second if you are the Astros. If you are the Pirates, well, you got some guys in exchange for Cole and McCutchen, but I'm struggling to find any names in those trades that project as future franchise cornerstones. And make no mistake about it, Cole and McCutchen were franchise cornerstones for the Pirates.

There might be some tough years ahead in Pittsburgh, and in San Francisco, too, for that matter.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw win MVP awards

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout on Thursday was named the unanimous MVP of the American League.

The 23-year-old received all 30 first-place votes and finished with 420 points. Detroit's Victor Martinez took second with 229 points, while Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley placed third with 185 points.

Let me say this: I do not disagree with this vote. But what's funny about this is Trout didn't have as good a season in 2014 as he had in 2012 or 2013:

2012: .326/.399/.564, 30 HRs, 84 RBIs, 49 SBs
2013: .323/.432/.557, 27 HRs, 97 RBIs, 33 SBs
2014: .287/.377/.561, 36 HRs, 111 RBIs, 16 SBs

Sure, Trout's power numbers were up in 2014, but he also struck out a league-leading 184 times. The batting average, on-base percentage and stolen base totals, while good, took a noticeable dip. I feel like his best year was 2013, when he finished second in the MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera. Trout also finished second to Cabrera in 2012.

Frankly, Trout has been the best overall player in the American League for each of the past three years. What was different about this season that swung the vote in Trout's favor? For one, Cabrera regressed to the point where he was no longer the best hitter on his own team. (Martinez was.) And two, the Angels won a league-best 98 games and made the playoffs.

The Angels did not make the playoffs in either 2012 or 2013, and there is always that subset of voters that believes the MVP *must* come from a team that qualified for the postseason.

Again, Trout deserves the award. It's just funny that he finally received his recognition in his weakest season of the last three.

Clayton Kershaw wins NL MVP

It's been a good week for Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, who won the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday and the NL MVP on Thursday.

Kershaw went 21-3 with 1.77 ERA, a 0.857 WHIP and six complete games in 27 starts this year. There's no denying he's the best pitcher in the league. The debate surrounding him was whether a pitcher should win the MVP award over an everyday player.

Here's why I think it's OK for starting pitchers to win MVP:

Dodgers record with Kershaw on the mound: 24-3 (.852 winning percentage)
Dodgers record with all other pitchers: 71-64 (.526 winning percentage)

The Dodgers are a decent, but not great team when Kershaw doesn't pitch. But with him on the mound, they rarely lose. I'd say he's pretty valuable, and you can justify voting for him for MVP on that basis.

Eighteen voters agreed and named Kershaw first on their ballot. He totaled 355 points. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton got eight first-place votes and 298 points for second place. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 winner, finished third with four first-place votes and 271 points.

Friday, November 15, 2013

No surprise: Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen win MVPs

I don't have any brilliant analysis to offer about this year's MVP awards, but since we've been talking about postseason honors on this blog this week, I should probably note that Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen have been named the MVPs of their respective leagues.

Neither vote was a surprise. Cabrera led the American League in batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.636). He ranked second in home runs (44) and RBIs (137) behind Chris Davis of Baltimore.

Cabrera got 23 of the 30 first-place votes and finished comfortably ahead of Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout. Davis took third in the balloting.

McCutchen won in a landslide, picking up 28 of the first-place votes in the National League. He batted .317 with 21 home runs, 84 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. He also played an excellent center field in leading Pittsburgh to its first winning season and first playoff appearance since 1992.

Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt finished second, while St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina took third.