Pittsburgh Pirates: Making the Case for an Andrew McCutchen Reunion

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 31: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Philadelphia Phillies tips his hat to the crowd before his at bat in the second inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 31, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 31: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Philadelphia Phillies tips his hat to the crowd before his at bat in the second inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 31, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 05: Yoshi Tsutsugo #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Bryan Reynolds #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates after hitting a first inning home run against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 05, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 05: Yoshi Tsutsugo #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Bryan Reynolds #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates after hitting a first inning home run against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 05, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in dire need of outfield help

Last season Reynolds was a National League All-Star. He has since been named a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove Award finalist for center field. Outside of Reynolds, however, the team’s outfield situation was messy to say the least.

Gregory Polanco and Anthony Alford joined Reynolds as starting outfielders on Opening Day. Polanco had a woeful season, paired with multiple injured list stints, before he was released by the Pirates.

Alford got off to a terrible start and was designated for assignment in May. To Alford’s credit he put together a strong six weeks after returning to the Majors to end the season, but it’s no guarantee that he is on the Opening Day roster, and even if he is his career track record is not one that paints confidence.

The other outfielder on the Opening Day roster? That was Dustin Fowler who was also designated for assignment in May. Fowler was then released later in the season.

Now, yes, Ben Gamel and Yoshi Tsutsugo came along and did some nice things for the Pirates. But Gamel could be traded this offseason and Tsutsugo is currently a free agent. While the Pirates will look to re-sign Tsutsugo, even if they do he is better suited to play first base or be a designated hitter. As for Gamel, even if he opens the season with the club the team will still need another outfielder, and they may look to use Gamel as a platoon player.

The Pirates need outfield help. McCutchen is available and he can still hit. While he is not the MVP or even All-Star caliber player he once was, his .334 on-base percentage, .222 isolated slugging (ISO) and 107 wRC+ all would have been among the best on the Pirates last season. These factors alone should make this one a good match.

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