As the Seattle Mariners move on to life without Kyle Seager, veteran leadership for an exciting young ball club is at a minimum. Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales are now the team’s most tenured players, but while those two continue to aim to set their mark on the league, Seattle could use a player who’s “been there before” as they push for the postseason in 2022: Andrew McCutchen.
Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 National League MVP, took the league by storm in his first seven seasons (all with the Pittsburgh Pirates), making five All-Star games, winning four Silver Sluggers, and taking home a Gold Glove in center field during that span. Since 2016, he hasn’t been nearly as dominant, but he has still been a solid contributor in separate stints with the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Andrew McCutchen’s veteran leadership, right-handed power, and championship hunger are all attributes that could make him valuable to the Seattle Mariners next year.
At 35 years old, McCutchen is certainly in his waning days as a professional ball player; however, while his batting average took a significant drop to .222 last season with the Phillies, he still slugged 27 home runs and 80 RBIs while playing in 144 games. With left field in Seattle currently expected to be manned by either Jake Fraley or Taylor Trammell (both lefties) next season, McCutchen could be counted upon to mash left-handed pitching in a platoon role.
In his four postseason appearances, McCutchen never made it past the Division Series round, losing in five games in the 2013 NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals, and losing in four games to the eventual champion Boston Red Sox in the 2018 ALDS while with the Yankees. Although the Phillies (led by MVP Bryce Harper) were expected to be postseason contenders for the last several seasons, they were not able to make the playoffs from 2019-2021 while McCutchen was with the team.
At this point in his career, McCutchen is surely hungry for another postseason chase, and it’s certainly possible he could find himself in one with a Mariners team coming off of a stellar 90-win season. Combine his veteran presence and playoff aspirations with his powerful right-handed bat, and Andrew McCutchen makes plenty of sense for Seattle to pursue on a short-term deal in 2022.