Chicago Cubs: Going with a proven veteran presence in the outfield
The highest-ranked free agent headed to the North Side, according to MLBTR? Longtime Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen. The site predicts a three-year, $45 million deal for the 2013 National League MVP – a mere fraction of what Harper and Machado will command.
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Thinking McCutchen is an MVP candidate at this point in his career is far-fetched. He’s just not. That being said, he’s still a high-quality veteran presence who could serve as a guiding presence in the Cubs lineup.
"After nine seasons as the Pirates’ center fielder, McCutchen was traded to the Giants and switched to right field. After hitting only three home runs in the season’s first two months, Cutch went on to hit .259/.374/.447 in his final 452 plate appearances for the Giants and Yankees. He could fit with the Cubs, Indians, Rays, Cardinals, Braves, White Sox, or Phillies."
What makes this most surprising, perhaps, is not the Cubs’ interest in a guy like McCutchen, but rather what it means for their young outfield core. Jason Heyward isn’t going anywhere with his mega-contract. That much we know.
But the Cubs still have to find reps for Albert Almora, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist. Adding someone like McCutchen would necessitate a trade of one of those first three guys. You don’t go out and sign a player like this to have him serve as a role player.