With Aaron Judge‘s wrist injury taking far longer than the original three-week recovery timetable, Brian Cashman has got the Yankees some badly needed outfield help. After clearing waivers August 22, the Bronx Bombers have acquired right fielder Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants for a package of Abiatal Avelino and Juan De Paula.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the deal was gaining moment him, and Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the deal was done. McCutchen is a clear offensive upgrade over Shane Robinson in right field, and allows Neil Walker to return to his usual role as an infielder for the Yankees.
In his first (and only) season in San Francisco, the 2013 NL MVP was batting .255/.357/.415 (115 wRC+) with 15 homers and 55 RBI. Those numbers are, undoubtedly, affected by him playing his home games at AT&T Park, which is more pitcher friendly than PNC Park. He’s been hot of late, batting .277/.404/.468 (140 wRC+) since August 15.
After a few seasons too many in center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Giants converted McCutchen to right field full-time in 2018. He’s made just two errors in right this season, and is worth +2 defensive runs saved. Ultimate Zone Rating has him at -0.9, which is just barely below average.
The Yankees are sending two prospects to San Francisco as they will be splitting the remaining financial commitment to McCutchen. It’s unclear when McCutchen will be activated by the Yankees, but I would guess he debuts in pinstripes after the September 1 roster expansion date.
Part of the group headed to San Francisco will be infield prospect Abiatal Avelino, ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the Yankees system. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout early in the season with Double-A Trenton, but has slowed down offensively with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
His overall .287/.333/.446 line is quite impressive in 123 total games, but it is buoyed by a .337/.392/.553 line in 49 games for Double-A Trenton. His power and on-base skills have sort of vanished in the International League, where he’s hitting .252/.291/.372. He does have 25 stolen bases, and can play third, shortstop and second base. Avelino will be a minor league free agent after the season if he is not added to the 40-man roster, and is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
The other piece in the deal is righty Juan De Paula, whom the Yankees acquired from Seattle in the Ben Gamel trade two years ago today. The 20-year-old was in his second straight season with Short-A Staten Island, pitching to a 1.71 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). De Paula was ranked as the team’s No. 26 prospect.