MLB Trade Rumors: The Texas Rangers have inquired about Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates OF/DH who is having a renaissance season, per Jon Morosi on Twitter. Morosi says that the Pirates aren’t ready to sell yet.
The Pirates were one of the big stories in MLB early on, and were 20-8 after sweeping a doubleheader at Washington on April 29. They’ve tailspinned since then, however, losing 11 of 12 after that sweep, and have lost 12 of their last 13 games. Still, Pittsburgh is just 5.5 games behind the first place Cincinnati Reds in the N.L. Central, and after years of haplessness, its understandable that they aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
The 36 year old McCutchen is slashing .271/.394/.431 this year while primarily DHing for the Pirates. His 127 OPS+ is his best mark since 2015, when he had a 144 OPS+ and finished 5th in the MVP balloting. He’s also viewed as a high character, very good clubhouse guy, and played for Bruce Bochy in 2018 when he was with the San Francisco Giants.
While we have talked primarily about the Rangers looking for pitching help at the trade deadline, they could also look to shore up the DH spot. Robbie Grossman hasn’t hit much, Mitch Garver has been DHing a lot but doesn’t have a great track record for staying healthy, and Brad Miller is Brad Miller. I had been thinking that Joc Pederson might be a potential target in July — the Rangers could use a lefty DH bat — but the San Francisco Giants are in the mix in the N.L. playoff hunt, so they don’t look to be sellers at this point.
Morosi notes that a McCutchen deal “would have particular interest to Texas if at least one pitcher is part of the deal, as well.” While David Bednar has been a hot topic of conversation among Rangers fans, Rich Hill might be a more realistic target. Like McCutchen, Hill is a free agent at season’s end, and has put up a respectable 4.34 ERA and 4.35 FIP in 83 innings over 15 starts. Acquiring Hill would give the Rangers additional insurance against potential rotation injuries, and possibly move Dane Dunning to the bullpen, where he was a key contributor earlier in the year for the Rangers.