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.