Phillies introduce a happy McCutchen to Philadelphia

Philadelphia Phillies welcome Andrew McCutchen
The Philadelphia Phillies introduced the newest addition to their roster on Tuesday, welcoming Andrew McCutchen to Citizens Bank Park after agreeing to terms with the five-time All-Star on a three-year deal worth $50 million. The deal includes a team option for 2022 and could be worth $62 million over four seasons.

McCutchen, 32, is a career .287 hitter over 10 seasons but his production has faded a bit over the last three year years as he hit just .263 with a 115 OPS+ between 2015 and 2018. His career OPS+ is 134.

"This is a game of adjustments," McCutchen said on Tuesday. "I've definitely had to make some adjustments over the years, and I know that I can be even better than what I've been over the past few (seasons). There has been a decline, yes, but I do understand what I'm capable of doing."

McCutchen hit .255 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs in 155 games in 2018 for San Francisco and the New York Yankees. The batting average was a career low.

Despite the recent slide, McCutchen projects as an almost certain upgrade for the Phillies outfield as the club aims to contend in 2019. He, along with Jean Segura, figure to give the Phillies an entirely new look at the top of the batting order.

McCutchen won the National League MVP award in 2013 while with the Pirates, hitting .317 with 21 homers, 84 RBIs, and 27 stolen bases. He's finished in the top-five of MVP voting four times and brings a veteran pedigree that the Phillies desperately need.

"I know I can be better, and that's what I've been doing all offseason: preparing and working, and that's not going to stop," McCutchen said. "I'm looking forward to being even better than I've been. I'm never satisfied, and I don't settle with what I've done. That's just the person I am."



Rather than project how many games McCutchen will play in 2019, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler focused on plate appearances and how McCutchen amassed at least 600 in each of the past nine seasons and said he would be shocked if he wasn't near that number again in 2019. He also said he envisions McCutchen in a corner outfield spot and hitting anywhere from leadoff to fifth, depending on the matchup that day.

"One of the cool things about Cutch is if you go back many, many years, he has a very consistent 600-plus plate appearance,” Kapler said. “This is a very durable individual. This is a guy that, as long as he's healthy, as long as he's feeling strong, he's going to go out and play for us every day.”

Kapler is right, McCutchen has proven to be one of the most durable players in baseball playing in a minimum of 146 games in each of the past nine seasons. Is that sustainable though for a 10-year veteran in his early 30's?

“I understand I’m not 22 anymore,” McCutchen said with a smile. “I understand that there are days I’m going to need off and I’m going to need to take off. So I just want to be able to be in the right position to help the team and be able to play a full season.”

In addition to what McCutchen brings to the field, he's also interested in his legacy away from the game with consistent involvement in charity work and that was a huge selling point for general manager Matt Klentak.

"There's a lot on the back of his baseball card," Klentak said. "But this guy won the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award and I'll tell you his involvement in the community in Pittsburgh was really impressive and when we were negotiating this contract we talked about the importance of getting involved in the community here and he was all about it. As a city and as a fan base, we should all be happy to welcome the guy to Philadelphia."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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