MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Mariners inquired with the Pirates about outfielder Andrew McCutchen earlier this offseason, but talks didn’t advance any further.
McCutchen, 30, is coming off an uncharacteristically mediocre season. The five-time All-Star hit .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs and 79 RBI in 675 plate appearances. His .766 OPS represented a decline of over 130 points from his previous season and over 100 points compared to his career average. McCutchen’s defense has also tapered off, which has led to the Pirates considering moving him away from center field.
Though Leonys Martin isn’t McCutchen’s equal offensively, he is better defensively and might have retained ownership of center field if McCutchen had joined the team. As presently situated, the Mariners’ corner outfield spots figure to be handled by some combination of Seth Smith, Ben Gamel, Danny Valencia, Nelson Cruz, and Guillermo Heredia.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.