McCutchen is not an old 30

One of the most famous trades of the past 60 years occurred in the winter of 1965 when the Reds traded future HOF Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for Milt Pappas. The Red General Manager Bill DeWitt made the famous comment that Robinson “was an old 30”. At that point the soon to be 30 years old Robinson had already accumulated over 6,000 plate appearances,  six top 10 MVP seasons and one MVP. He would, of course, go on to win the Triple Crown and MVP in 1966 for the World Champion Orioles, and that trade is considered by many to be one of the worst trades in baseball history.

Why are we bringing this up? Evidently,  Andrew McCutchen is on the trading block. Jim Bowden from ESPN Insider has suggested a Dodger match of Jose De Leon and Cody Bellinger for Andrew McCutchen.

I’m not sure I’d do that deal given how perfect Bellinger is lining up for the Dodgers. McCutchen only has two more years on his contract with favorable terms. He’s owed $14M in 2017 and $14.7M in 2018. He’d be a free agent after 2018 working perfectly with all the other contracts coming off the books over the next two years.

He had a sub-par age 29 season in 2016, both offensively and defensively. The Dodgers don’t need a center fielder, they need a left fielder that can hit left-handed pitching, or they need a full-time right fielder if Puig gets moved.

Want to add this link where a Pirate Blogger took a look at his strong finish.

At the end of July Andrew McCutchen had a 22.2 percent line drive rate and a 33.1 percent hard contact rate. Since August 5th his line drive rate is still 22.2 percent, but since August 5th he has experienced a big spike in hard contact rate. Since August 5th McCutchen’s hard contact rate is 41.5 percent.

Earlier in the season Andrew McCutchen was reportedly dealing with a wrist issue. Despite this, McCutchen played through it. However, a wrist injury is arguably the worst injury a hitter can get. It can have a negative impact on your bat grip, your bat speed, your batting stance, and your all-around ability to hit.

If you look at baseball history, not very many outfielders have put up the kind of numbers that McCutchen has put up and not continued to be effective for their age 30 and 31 seasons.

If McCutchen is indeed available, I think the Dodgers should be all over it. I’d think they have enough minor league depth to make this happen without having to make Cody Bellinger part of the deal.

There have been only 20 outfielders to have an OPS+ > 130 by age 29 with over 5,000 plate appearances since 1947.

Player WAR/pos OPS+ PA From To Age
Mickey Mantle 84.3 175 6697 1951 1961 19-29
Hank Aaron 73.5 158 6582 1954 1963 20-29
Ken Griffey 70.6 149 6688 1989 1999 19-29
Willie Mays 68.2 158 5301 1951 1960 20-29
Barry Bonds 66.2 157 5403 1986 1994 21-29
Frank Robinson 63.8 150 6408 1956 1965 20-29
Rickey Henderson 61.3 134 5930 1979 1988 20-29
Al Kaline 59.7 132 6746 1953 1964 18-29
Carl Yastrzemski 53.2 139 5978 1961 1969 21-29
Duke Snider 53 144 5494 1947 1956 20-29
Cesar Cedeno 49.2 130 6051 1970 1980 19-29
Reggie Jackson 48.3 150 5058 1967 1975 21-29
Tim Raines 45.5 133 5621 1979 1989 19-29
Bobby Bonds 43 133 5236 1968 1975 22-29
Darryl Strawberry 40.1 144 5137 1983 1991 21-29
Andrew McCutchen 37.5 138 5179 2009 2016 22-29
Jim Rice 31.8 136 5131 1974 1982 21-29
Juan Gonzalez 29.9 136 5283 1989 1999 19-29
Greg Luzinski 19.1 133 5321 1970 1980 19-29
Adam Dunn 15.7 132 5417 2001 2009 21-29

 

I was trying to see if anyone else had been traded before their 30th age season besides Frank from this list.
Ken Griffy was also headed for 30 when he was traded from the Reds to the Mariners. As we all know his time with the Reds was not as productive as his time with the Mariners but his five years right after the trade were certainly productive enough that you’d make that trade again and again.

Rickey Henderson was traded long before he reached 30 years old.

Cesar Cedeno is on the list but his best years were at age 21 and 22, and by 30 it was clear he was in huge decline. He had not received a top 10 MVP vote since he was 25.

Reggie Jackson was traded after his age 29 season but that was because he was going to be a free agent after the year he was acquired.

Tim Raines was traded after his age 30 season. He would never again receive any MVP votes, but you’d have to decide for yourself if he would have been worth acquiring. He was still a productive player but no longer an all-star.

Bobby Bonds was traded after his age 28 season. At that point he had an OPS+ of 131 and two top five MVP seasons. It was the ultimate challenge trade for Bobby Murcer who was also 28 and had an OPS+ of 134 with three top 10 MVP seasons. He would also never have another top 10 MVP season.

The last person on the 20 player list was Adam Dunn who was traded during his age 28 season for Free Agency reasons.

Eleven HOF from that list of 20.

Busts after 30 would be Strawberry, Murcer, Juan Gonzalez, Cedeno, Gregg Luzinski

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