The San Diego Padres have had a very successful offseason, as they retained many of their most important bullpen arms while pulling off a stunning move that helped land Xander Bogaerts in Southern California. Even with all of those victories, A.J. Preller needs one more big win on the free agent market to beef up that lineup.
With Brandon Drury still unsigned and Josh Bell having left to join the Guardians, San Diego needs someone who can DH every day, optimally while also providing depth for an outfield that gutted themselves to acquire Juan Soto. It just so happens that one of those ideal Goldilocks targets is still unsigned.
Andrew McCutchen may not be the MVP winner he was with the Pirates, but he’s shown that he can be a wandering baseball ronin who shows up and slugs 20 home runs fairly easily. He’s still on the market after a slight downward turn in his lone season with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers and Rays, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, are making a concerted effort to land McCutchen in free agency. Even though his reduced speed makes him a less effective defensive player, that bat is valuable enough for San Diego to consider making a run at.
Can the San Diego Padres sign Andrew McCutchen?
McCutchen’s average plummeted to just .237 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI. Why should San Diego expect more out of him? Because they can protect him in the lineup. A declining Christian Yelich and Rowdy Tellez pale in comparison to Bogaerts and Manny Machado.
Since leaving Pittsburgh, McCutchen is averaging 25 home runs and 82 RBI per 162 games. Even with some inconsistency marring the end of Phillies tenure and an ill-fated stint in Milwaukee, there’s plenty of pop in his bat. That Western Metal Supply Company building better look out.
The Padres will likely move Fernando Tatis Jr. to the outfield, but that move is not set in stone yet. As of right now, the Padres have a left field vacancy. McCutchen can hold his own in the field, flex his muscles, and keep a relatively young team in check when the postseason comes around.
McCutchen is still a valuable hitter at this stage of his career, as he was a solid power threat for a team that lacked support around him despite having one of the worst years as a pro. With McCutchen eyeing a ring, San Diego could give him a very good chance at realizing that goal.