Signing Andrew McCutchen
The Pirates signed Andrew McCutchen last off-season to a one-year deal at $5 million, and he signed the exact same deal this off-season. Cutch will return next season as the team’s primary designated hitter, and hopefully, he will stay healthy the entire season.
In 473 plate appearances, Cutch batted .256/.378/.397 with a .345 wOBA and 115 wRC+. His 21.1% strikeout rate was above average, but his 15.9% walk rate is the best of his career. He didn’t hit for much power, as he went yard just a dozen times with a .141 isolated slugging percentage. However, he could up that next season.
Up through June, he had a .168 isolated slugging percentage. But an elbow injury in early July hampered his power, and he had just a .096 ISO for the rest of the season. It was mainly because he couldn’t lift the ball. His 89.6 MPH exit velocity and 44.6% hard-hit rate were both above average, with the latter being a career-high.
Signing McCutchen was a when not an if move. When Cutch hit free agency, it’s a bit of a surprise it didn’t happen earlier in the off-season. But because it was so predictable, I feel like I can’t give it too high of a grade. C is what I consider average, but I think this is at least somewhere above average.