In addition to returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 2023 season should be one of milestones for Andrew McCutchen
Arguably the biggest move that the Pittsburgh Pirates made this season was signing outfielder Andrew McCutchen in free agency. One of the best players in Pirate history, McCutchen is set to return to the Burgh in 2023.
McCutchen spent the first nine seasons of his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, after the team traded him following the 2017 season he has spent the previous five seasons elsewhere. McCutchen has had stints with the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Milwaukee Brewers since leaving Pittsburgh.
Since leaving the Pirates McCutchen has continued to rack up hits and home runs. While he has never recaptured the performance he had as a Pirate, he has continued to be an above-average hitter since leaving Pittsburgh. Since being traded, McCutchen has still hit for a .242/.343/.423 slash line with a 110 wRC+.
Entering the 2023 season McCutchen is now on the brink of multiple career milestones. Due to this, the 2023 season should be one of milestones for McCutchen. It is only fitting that this season comes with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 36-year-old McCutchen is closing in on a career milestone for hits, doubles, and home runs. McCutchen is currently sitting on 1,952 career hits, 392 doubles, and 287 home runs. All three of these categories will, barring major injury, see McCutchen reach a career milestone in 2023.
Etiher 400 career doubles or 2,000 career hits will be the first milestone McCutchen will reach during the 2023 season. Both should fall relatively early in the season. Hopefully, they both come at PNC Park, especially his 2000th hit, so that he can be honored properly.
Barring injury, 300 home runs will also be eclipsed by McCutchen this season. Like his 2000th hit, hopefully this milestone is reached at PNC Park. This way McCutchen can take it all in surrounded by the fans and city that he loves and who love him back.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are unlikely to compete for the postseason in 2023. That said, there can still be positives and fun moments during the season. McCutchen reaching three career milestones certainly is part of this. If you're not going to contend as a baseball team, one of the next best things you can have is one of the best players in franchise history chasing milestones during the season. With McCutchen, the Pirates will have that this season.