Andrew McCutchen, New York Mets, MLB
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Mets have had early-stage discussions with the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding Andrew McCutchen. Adding the former MVP would be welcomed but is unlikely. Without quality prospects, the Mets are more likely to pursue upgrades via free agency.

It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe that this year the New York Mets will be better than the last. But the offseason has been relatively quiet to date. As it stands, 12 of the top 15 best free agents still remain searching for new teams.

The Mets have been frustratingly quiet as the offseason presses on, but it seems that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Rumors regarding Mike Moustakas have been swirling all day after John Harper of the New York Daily News reported that the Mets may be prepared to spend more than originally believed.

Now it’s possible the Mets could be targeting Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Amazins’ have had low-level talks regarding the former NL MVP for the second offseason in a row. The Mets are reportedly weighing a variety of options. Rosenthal also stated that it is more likely the Mets upgrade their roster by way of free agency given their lack of prospects to deal.

Set to earn $14.75 million in the final year of his contract, McCutchen is very visibly entering the twilight years of his career. Formerly a Gold Glove center fielder, McCutchen has generally regressed into a serviceable corner outfielder. The five-time All-Star saw a significant decline in his production during 2016 but rebounded nicely in 2017 where he slashed .279/.363/.486 with 28 home runs and 88 RBIs.

The Mets currently possess a convoluted outfield situation. Yoenis Cespedes is entrenched in left field, while Michael Conforto has control of the right field spot once he returns from his shoulder injury. In the interim, the club sorely lacks an everyday center fielder in addition to a question mark in right. Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo are set to see significant increases in playing time, but the jury is out on whether either one of them could be a serviceable major league player.

McCutchen would be a welcomed addition to this club but would essentially be placing a square peg in a round hole. The acquisition of McCutchen would dictate that Conforto would become the everyday center fielder. Conforto can hold down center field but is incapable of providing plus defense at that premium position.

No deal is close which could simply mean that Sandy Alderson and the front office are simply doing a pulse check on the market. Either way, if the Mets want to compete in 2018, then they have to be aggressive in pursuit of talent.

A former disciple of Stan Fischler. IBWAA member. Bylines at Baseball Prospectus Mets, Elite Sports New York, and my own creation: Baseknock MLB. Formerly Amazin' Avenue of SB Nation. Proud UAlbany Alum.