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.
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.
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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