Monday, June 24, 2024

Cutch Back


In a few more years there's gonna be some viral article, '10 players that looked bizarre wearing City Connect jerseys', and it's gonna be people you don't associate with 2020s baseball, people like Asdrubal Cabrera, Corey Kluber, Dee Strange-Gordon, guys like that, and I'm wondering if Andrew McCutchen will be included on that list. Because this does look cool as hell, but does he fit here? This Pirates era is the era of Paul Skenes, Oneil Cruz and Jared Jones, and...there's Cutch.

It does go into a larger conversation about Cutch as an MLB presence since signing the Phils deal. From his call-up in 2009 to the end of the 2018 season in New York, Andrew McCutchen still felt like a masterful, relevant player. And after the mid-2019 injury, he just felt like he had less to contribute. Since 2020 he has a combined 4.5 WAR, only one 25+ homer year, and a huge production drop-off. He's less of a contact hitter than he was in his 20s, is a mid-lineup bat at this point, and his Pittsburgh return, while better than before, is still nowhere near his 2010s stuff. Just yesterday, Max Scherzer held down the Royals at age 39. Cutch is 37 and he's...I mean, he's fine.

It sucks that I have to be this honest about one of my favorite players. But to be fair, this is not the first time in his career that Cutch has had to come back from a massive drop-off. In 2016 he had a dismal year, with some defensive troubles detracting from a .250 year, which included a home run hit while I was attendance at PNC Park. The following year he was able to get back some of his glory, hitting .279 with 88 RBIs and 28 home runs. He had enough appeal then to succeed as a boost for both the Giants and the Yankees the year after.

So this current Pirates era of Cutch is essentially Cutch v3.0. This is the latest revitalization attempt, and because the home crowd loves him, it's been going well. While he's done a few pegs from his excellent 2023, Cutch still has 10 homers and 22 RBIs as the primary DH. He's at the point in his career where the home runs are game highlights just by themselves, but he's still very much capable of hitting them. It's not entirely 'resting on mythology' mode, there's still a lot Cutch can do right as a hitter, even if I am thankful he's a permanent DH these days.

The Pirates have had a nice upswing recently. Skenes pitched yesterday, so that went well. Reynolds and Cruz are both hot. Colin Holderman continues to be one of the best set-up men in the biz, despite the game kinda coming down to him yesterday. With the NL Central relatively open, the Pirates could get ahead of some of the competition, and might stick around at this rate, even with some flaws still obvious.'d be wild if Andrew McCutchen's return to Pittsburgh went on long enough to see the Pirates compete again. I'd kinda adore if that happened.

Coming Tonight: Is this the next Houston product to have a breakout year? 


  1. That's a great idea about guys who you wouldn't expect to have worn City Connect unis. Uni Watch should do that! At least the one Cutch is wearing is recognizable as a Pirates uniform; a lot of the City Connects just don't look like that team.

  2. Great post. Cutch is one of the good guys. And I still don't get the City Connect jerseys.