The San Francisco Giants have taken the first step to improving their disastrous outfield situation.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded Andrew McCutchen and cash to the Giants in exchange for 25-year-old reliever Kyle Crick, switch-hitting outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds, and $500,000 in international bonus pool space.
The Giants will reportedly receive $2.5 million toward McCutchen's $14.5-million salary from the Pirates in the deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The Giants featured the major's most anemic outfield offense in 2017, batting .255/.309/.375 with 43 home runs. Initially seen as a player in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes, the team has been forced to switch gears. They acquired Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays, sending outfielder Denard Span as one of the pieces in return.
McCutchen seamlessly fits into the Giants' outfield, even if another acquisition is on the way. The depth chart prior to the McCutchen acquisition included Hunter Pence, Steven Duggar, and Jarrett Parker as the starters.
After a slow start in 2017, McCutchen rebounded for a resurgent year, batting .312/.400/.540 with 22 home runs from May 26 through the end of the season.
It represents a further change for the Pirates only days after sending ace Gerrit Cole to the defending champion Houston Astros for four players. The Cole trade reportedly signaled that both McCutchen and infielder Josh Harrison could potentially be on the move, and McCutchen is the first domino to fall.
The 31-year-old McCutchen has spent his entire nine-year career with the Pirates, making five All-Star games, and finishing in the top five in MVP voting four times. He won the NL MVP award in 2013 after hitting .317/.404/.508 with 21 home runs and swiping 27 bags in 157 games.
In Reynolds, the Pirates get a 22-year-old who hit .312/.364/.462 with 10 home runs in 121 games at High-A in 2017, his second season in the Giants' minor-league system after being selected in the second round in the 2016 draft. Crick made his major-league debut in 2017, posting a 3.06 ERA over 32 1/3 innings in relief, though his 4.73 BB/9 may raise some flags.