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MLB Winter Meetings: Rays interested in OF Andrew McCutchen

The former MVP is approaching career milestones.

Cincinnati Reds v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Per a report from ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers are showing interest in signing free agent outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

McCutchen, 36, was born in Fort Meade and attended high school there as well. It was from that somewhat-local high school that he would be drafted with the 11th overall selection in the 2005 draft.

McCutchen is a 14-year big league veteran who has compiled many accolades throughout his career with the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player award topping them all.

He has spent the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he enjoyed the most success, garnering multiple All-Star game selections and Silver Slugger awards; McCutchen was consistently finishing among the front runners for the MVP award from 2012 to 2015.

Since leaving the Pirates in a trade that brought Pittsburgh Bryan Reynolds, McCutchen has played with the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and most recently with the Milwaukee Brewers.

This past season while with the Brewers, McCutchen hit .237/.316/.384 with 17 HR over 580 plate appearances generating 98 wRC+. Defensively, McCutchen was a solid defender in left field, providing 4 DRS, while also spending some time in both center and right field. Overall, he accumulated 0.3 fWAR over 134 games played.

The Rays interest in McCuthen is likely as part of a platoon. Over his career, he has fared well enough against pitchers regardless of which hand they use to throw. However, over the past few seasons, right-handed pitchers have become more of a struggle, although he did register 95 wRC+ against them in 2022.

However, McCutchen has remained as potent as ever against southpaws. Over his career, he has a 154 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers; although, 2022 was one of his worst years against them as he mustered 106 wRC+ over 165 plate appearances with his strikeout and walk rates both being the worst of his career. Before the 2022 season, McCutchen had strung together five consecutive seasons with wRC+’s of 126 or better against left-handed pitchers.

If McCutchen were to sign with the Rays, his place on the roster would have to be determined with the Rays already seemingly set in the outfield with three right-handed hitters: Jose Siri, Randy Arozarena, and Manuel Margot.