The New York Yankees have reportedly acquired veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
In return, the Giants are receiving 23-year-old shortstop prospect Abiatal Avelino, the No. 23-ranked prospect in the organization’s farm system, and the Yankees’ No. 26-ranked prospect, pitcher Juan De Paula.
McCutchen provides a much-needed relief for the Yankees’ depleted outfield, which is still without star right fielder Aaron Judge after he hit the disabled list with a chip fracture in his wrist in late July.
His absence has forced the likes of Neil Walker, a natural second baseman, and Shane Robinson to platoon in right field with Giancarlo Stanton, who has proven that he performs best as a designated hitter over any kind of defensive asset.
Robinson is batting .156 while Walker is sporting a.225 mark. That hasn’t been good enough for a Yankees team that saw its deficit in the American League East increase from 6.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox back to 8.5 after consecutive losses to the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers.
At 31 years old, McCutchen’s better days seem behind him as he’s batting .255, which is on pace for a career-worst average, with 15 home runs and 55 RBI in 130 games with the Giants after nine years with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Regardless, he provides a significant upgrade to the Yankees’ current situation in right field and the promise of adding more of an offensive punch in a hitter-friendly ballpark like Yankee Stadium. After all, McCutchen is the 2013 National League MVP and has averaged .288 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI per 162 games over his career.
With 28 games remaining in the regular season, New York might not have enough time to catch Boston, but the acquisition of McCutchen will only help it secure its top spot in the American League Wild Card race over the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners.