The Seattle Mariners have struggled all season long to find consistent production from multiple spots in their lineup. With the trade deadline on Tuesday August 1 the Mariners do not have much time to try to add players to fix that inconsistent lineup. After taking two of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend the team showed that they are close to finding some consistency and adding veteran Andrew McCutchen to the mix could help that lineup.
Andrew McCutchen had a great stretch in the mid 2010s where he was one of the best players in baseball, finishing top five in MVP voting four straight years. Those days are behind the longtime Pirate, but he is still a productive veteran hitter at the plate. After leaving Pittsburgh for a few years to try to win other places the former MVP is back with the Pirates this year. He has had a very solid season so far but has struggled a little lately.
On the season, McCutchen is hitting .257/.380/.399 in 85 games. He has 10 home runs this year and is walking four percent above league average. Interestingly enough, he is better against right-handed pitching. This year he has a 120 wRC+ against righties and a 111 against lefties. His first half was really strong but he has struggled this month. In July he has a 37 wRC+ in 15 games, but in that same time the Pirates have won just eight games and lost 16. If he were to get traded from the sinking Pirate ship to the Mariners who are in a playoff race it could rejuvenate the 36-year-old.
They started out the season hot and were in playoff contention early but have fallen back to 10 games out of their division.So with the Pirates looking like sellers, especially after dealing former Mariner Carlos Santana to Milwaukee, they could trade McCutchen because he is on an expiring contract. The Pirates only got a low level prospect in return for Santana so the return for McCutchen should not be much more.
The Pirates only got the Brewers 28th prospect according to Baseball America for Santana. So could the Mariners get the Pirates primary DH for a manageable return? Absolutely.
If the Pirates are interested in a bullpen arm then the Mariners could offer someone like Travis Kuhn who has an ERA under 3 at Double-A Arkansas. Or maybe Ty Adcock who showed he could be a middle reliever in the big leagues this year and has been good in Double-A. The M's could send first baseman Robert Perez or if the Pirates wanted a younger lottery ticket they could trade Carlos Jimenez who is having a good year in the complex league but isn't ranked high in the M's system.
The Mariners have plenty of prospects who offer enough intrigue that should get the Pirates to bite on dealing McCutchen to Seattle. He would help the Mariners by giving them a more proven bat in their lineup. McCutchen has only once had a wRC+ lower than 100 for a season in his career and that was last year when he had a 98. Even at 36 years old the veteran would provide offensive stability to the back half of the lineup.
He has also been to the playoffs a handful of times and has been around the league a lot so he would know how to lead this team in a playoff push. There is no reason the Mariners can't give up a very low level and low ranked prospect to acquire McCutchen. The upgrade of adding McCutchen raises the floor of this Mariners offense quite a bit. McCutchen is also a known fan favorite in Pittsburgh and after driving in some runs for Seattle the fans will surely become big fans of his down the stretch.