The SF Giants traded Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick to the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen and cash
How nice would it be for the SF Giants to have a cost-controlled outfielder with a 131 OPS+ right now? They could have.
Before the start of the 2018 season, the Giants traded prospect Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen, a former MVP and five-time All-Star, was neither of those things by the time he arrived in San Francisco. It’s not that he was bad; he was coming off a 3 win season and continued to be an above-average hitter.
He just wasn’t the McCutchen of old.
Reynolds, meanwhile, had an .826 OPS with San Jose at the Advanced-A level and appeared to have a bright future.
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As bright as it appears today? Maybe not. It’s always easier with 20-20 hindsight.
It’s hard to make much sense of it. San Francisco finished 64-98 in 2017, last not just in the NL West but in a tie with the Tigers for last overall in baseball. That worked out OK in the end: a few months later they selected top prospect Joey Bart.
It doesn’t, however, explain why the front office thought trading a prospect for a player on the back end of his career make good sense in the big picture.
McCutchen didn’t do much in 2018, and neither did the Giants. The then-31-year-old outfielder hit .255/.357/.415 (for a 115 OPS+) in 130 games. He was worth about two wins during that time.
He spent the last month of the regular season with the Yankees after being moved at the Aug. 31 trade deadline for A-baller Juan De Paula and Triple-A infielder Abiatal Avelino. De Paula is no longer in the organization, but Avelino has gotten a handful of bats at the big league level since.
The Giants themselves improved slightly in 2018, going 73-89 and moving out of the cellar for a fourth-place finish in the NL West.
Reynolds has gone on to become a key player for the Pirates. He finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season. He went .314 / .377 / .503 / .880 (131 OPS+) for the season, across 134 games after a late-April callup.
He was worth about four wins. It would sure be nice to have that today.
How does the SF Giants’ Bryan Reynolds-Andrew McCutchen trade look today?
Our Pirates sister site called the trade the team’s second-best of the decade. It might only look better in the coming years.
We’d rank it among the Giants’ worst.