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Giants to play Cutch in right field, Pence in left

MLB.com @DKramer_

A day after acquiring Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates to patrol the spacious gaps at AT&T Park, the Giants revealed that they plan to play the former National League MVP in right field, moving him from the center-field position he held for most of his nine seasons in Pittsburgh. Incumbent Giants right fielder Hunter Pence will move to left field, according to manager Bruce Bochy, who added that he approached Pence in advance.

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said on a conference call on Tuesday. "That's one place where people can't pick on me and say my sabermetrics are bad."

A day after acquiring Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates to patrol the spacious gaps at AT&T Park, the Giants revealed that they plan to play the former National League MVP in right field, moving him from the center-field position he held for most of his nine seasons in Pittsburgh. Incumbent Giants right fielder Hunter Pence will move to left field, according to manager Bruce Bochy, who added that he approached Pence in advance.

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said on a conference call on Tuesday. "That's one place where people can't pick on me and say my sabermetrics are bad."

"We think that's the best fit for our club," Bochy said. "That moves Hunter Pence to left field. I've already spoken to Hunter. He's so excited about getting Cutch on our club that he'll play anywhere."

Video: STL@PIT: McCutchen lays out for spectacular grab

McCutchen, who won an NL Gold Glove Award in center in 2012, played 13 games in right last year in a transition that, at the time, was in part to a substandard showing in center in '16. The Pirates opted to "optimize" their outfield defense, as general manager Neal Huntington said at the time, favoring two-time Gold Glove Award winner Starling Marte in center. However, Marte was suspended 80 games in April, which pushed McCutchen back to center, where the five-time All-Star remained the rest of the season.

While advanced metrics ranked McCutchen as one of the worst defensive outfielders in 2016, they also showed he showed more upside in '17. In looking at Statcast™'s Outs Above Average -- a range-based metric that accounts for the number of plays an outfielder makes and their difficulty -- McCutchen went from being, statistically, the worst center fielder in '16 (-11 OAA) to middle-of-the-pack (0 OAA) in '17.

In addition to seeking offensive upgrades this winter -- which is in part why they traded for McCutchen and third baseman Evan Longoria -- the Giants had voiced an objective of upgrading their outfield defense, which could prove valuable in the NL West, where spacious outfield gaps run aplenty. As a unit, Giants outfielders last year were worth -45 defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs, the worst in the Majors by -13 DRS, and well off their -17 DRS showing in '16.

The Giants still plan to seek a veteran center fielder via trade or free agency, general manager Bobby Evans said Tuesday. Whoever takes over will replace veteran Denard Span, who posted -12 OAA last year, an MLB-worst among center fielders, and was part of the Longoria trade to the Rays.

As recently as three weeks ago, the Giants had been in active communication with the Reds about speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. The Reds had shown interest in outfielder Heliot Ramos, the club's No. 3 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, though the Giants have already unloaded three of their Top 30 prospects (at the time) to get Longoria and another two -- outfielder Bryan Reynolds (No. 4) and right-hander Kyle Crick (No. 16) -- to acquire McCutchen.

Giants prospect Steven Duggar (No. 5) is believed to be a year or less away from being MLB ready, though Evans said he expects Duggar to make the competition for the starting job interesting in Spring Training.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Francisco Giants, Andrew McCutchen, Hunter Pence

These 10 baseball players have uncanny doppelgangers in old artwork

"Surely there was a person who looked just like me in a famous work of art from hundreds of years ago" is a common thought shared by many people as they lay in bed. Until recently, that was the best we could hope for -- just thoughts. Then Google updated their Arts and Culture app and suddenly, the truth was revealed. Everyone on the internet wanted to see who their artistic doppelganger was.

Ohtani leads list of top 10 RHP prospects

Astros phenom Whitley makes big leap to No. 2
MLB.com @JonathanMayo

It's prospect ranking season!

It's prospect ranking season!

Top 10 Prospects by Position

The countdown to the release of the Top 100 list officially begins, as it has for the past few seasons, with the Top 10 right-handed pitching prospects list.

Not surprisingly, the RHP list is a deep one and there will undoubtedly be many more than 10 righties on that Top 100 list, which goes live on Jan. 27, in conjunction with the MLB Network special at 8 p.m. ET (also streaming on MLB.com). The list starts with the player everyone is curious to see in action, the Angels' two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani was added to the 2017 Top 10 RHP list when he signed with the Angels. There are two newcomers to the list compared to the end of 2017.

Video: Top Prospects: Shohei Ohtani, RHP, Angels

1. Shohei Ohtani, Angels
2. Forrest Whitley, Astros More »
3. Michael Kopech, White Sox More »
4. Brent Honeywell, Rays More »
5. Walker Buehler, Dodgers More »
6. Mitch Keller, Pirates More »
7. Alex Reyes, Cardinals More »
8. Hunter Greene, Reds More »
9. Triston McKenzie, Indians More »
10. Sixto Sanchez, Phillies More »

Top tools

Fastball: 80 - Ohtani, Kopech, Greene
All three get top-of-the-scale grades for their heaters, with the ability to crack triple-digits. Kopech's might be a slight shade behind the other two solely because they have better command.

Video: Top Prospects: Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds

Curveball: 65 - Whitley, Buehler
Both have nasty breaking stuff, with the ability to throw both a curve and a slider. The curve is a true out pitch for both right-handers, power breaking balls with excellent depth and spin.

Video: Top Prospects: Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers

Slider: 65 - Ohtani, Kopech
These two again. Both offer plus power sliders, though both have also shown some inconsistencies with the pitch. It's on more often than not, and projects to be a swing-and-miss offering for each of them.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox

Changeup: 60 - Honeywell
This is one of Honeywell's five pitches he chooses from in any given start, and it's a beauty of an offspeed pitch. It can miss bats as well as generate weak contact.

Video: Top Prospects: Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays

Other: 65 - Ohtani (splitter), Honeywell (screwball)
The splitter is a popular pitch in Japan and Ohtani's is nasty, a low-90s pitch that dives out of the strike zone. Honeywell doesn't throw the screwball, a very uncommon offering, frequently, but when he does, it's unhittable.

Control: 60 - Honeywell, Keller, Sanchez
Honeywell, Keller and Sanchez all have plus control, and Keller was pinpoint especially in the Arizona Fall League, but it's hard to look past Honeywell's career 2.0 BB/9 rate (Keller is at 2.4).

Highest Ceiling - Ohtani
There is some serious upside on the list, making it a little tough to pick just one. But Ohtani comes to the States with three pitches that get a 65 or higher on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. That's hard to beat.

Highest floor - Keller
Typically highest floor, or who has the highest likelihood of reaching his potential, goes to an advanced college type. But Keller's stuff to go along with his outstanding command and size makes him the safest bet to meet expectations.

Video: Top Prospects: Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates

Rookie of the Year candidate - Ohtani
Honeywell, Buehler and Reyes were other guys on this list who seem certain to make big contributions in the big leagues this year, but how can anyone other than Ohtani be the choice for most likely to contend for Rookie of the Year honors?

Highest riser - Whitley
The Astros' first-round pick in 2016 wasn't on the top 10 RHP list in 2017. After pitching across three levels and reaching Double-A as a teenager in his first full year, the 6-foot-7 right-hander has jumped all the way up to No. 2 on the list.

Video: Top Prospects: Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros

Humblest beginnings - Honeywell
Honeywell was pitching at Walters State Community College in 2014 and wasn't even on MLB.com's Top 200 Draft prospects list. He went No. 72 overall in the Competitive Balance Round B and signed for $800,000, the smallest bonus of any of the right-handers on this list.

Most to prove - Reyes
Maybe an argument could be made that Ohtani belongs in this slot as well, but Reyes' return from Tommy John surgery will be important as the Cardinals try to get back to the top of the NL Central.

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals

Keep an eye on - Matt Manning, Tigers
Manning, the Tigers' first-round pick in 2016, has just five starts in full-season ball, so he clearly has a ways to go. But the 6-foot-6 former basketball standout has a ton of ceiling and a strong full season in 2018 could see him climb onto this list.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pros and cons of 6 potential acquisitions

MLB.com @RichardJustice

We've had an offseason in which huge, sweeping trades have been discussed. In that way, the Hot Stove has never been hotter. As for action, that's another story.

Despite all the talk, just three big names have been dealt since the Winter Meetings -- third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays to the Giants in December, right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates to the Astros on Saturday and outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates to the Giants on Monday.

We've had an offseason in which huge, sweeping trades have been discussed. In that way, the Hot Stove has never been hotter. As for action, that's another story.

Despite all the talk, just three big names have been dealt since the Winter Meetings -- third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays to the Giants in December, right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates to the Astros on Saturday and outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates to the Giants on Monday.

Those three trades could eventually trigger others. And all those other deals, the ones involving Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Christian Yelich, seem as far away as ever. Stay tuned.

There's still time, though, and as free agency plays out and teams consider their options, things could happen. With that in mind, let's look at seven possibilities.

D-backs

The acquisition: Orioles 3B Manny Machado (trade).

Pros: Machado would replace J.D. Martinez in the middle of the order to create something similar to the lineup that averaged five runs per game after the trade for Martinez in 2017. Machado's arrival would send a message to every D-backs player and fan that the club believes it is good enough to win in '18 and that the front office is doing its part. For the Orioles, it would begin the tough, necessary job of accumulating young talent.

Cons: The Orioles want two MLB-ready pitchers, even with Machado a year from free agency. That's a steep price at a time when young pitching is among the game's most coveted assets. On the other hand, Arizona is one of the few clubs that has that kind of pitching depth, with left-hander Anthony Banda and right-hander Jon Duplantier on the cusp of the big leagues.

Video: TOR@BOS: Donaldson crushes his 32nd homer of the year

Cardinals

The acquisition: Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson (trade).

Pros: The Cardinals would be nicely positioned to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Never mind that Donaldson will be a free agent after '18. The Cards see that as a discussion for another time. Donaldson's production and passion would make him an instant fan favorite. After finishing behind the Cubs in back-to-back seasons, the Cardinals aren't looking at anything else. For the Blue Jays, who have a strong farm system, the trade would bring at least a couple of elite young players.

Cons: There aren't many. The Blue Jays would want to pick through the St. Louis farm system, despite Donaldson being a possible one-year rental. For the Cardinals, that's a reasonable price to pay for a return to October. The Blue Jays believe they're good enough to get back to the playoffs. That probably changes without Donaldson.

Red Sox

The acquisition: OF J.D. Martinez (free agent).

Pros: Martinez hit 45 home runs in 2017 and would be a solid addition to a team that finished last in the American League in homers. Since turning his career around in '14, Martinez's .574 slugging percentage is the second highest in baseball, trailing only Mike Trout's .579.

Cons: Basically none. Martinez is 30 years old and probably worth a three- to five-year deal at $25 million or more per season. Agent Scott Boras apparently wants more than that, or the deal would have been done by now.

Video: Heyman on Martinez, Red Sox playing 'waiting game'

Mariners

The acquisition: RHP Jake Arrieta (free agent).

Pros: He might just be the final piece of the puzzle for Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, who has relentlessly reshaped his team the past three offseasons. His 2.67 ERA over the past four seasons is the second best in baseball, trailing only Clayton Kershaw's 1.99. Arrieta will be 32 on Opening Day, but he is still under 1,200 career innings.

Cons: Signing workhorse pitchers to long-term contracts can be risky business. On the other hand, there is no such thing as a perfect acquisition. Arrieta seems worth the risk.

Video: Nats showing interest in trading for Realmuto

Nationals

The acquisition: Marlins C J.T. Realmuto (trade).

Pros: He's 26 years old and already one of the five or six best catchers in the game. He could share the position with veteran Matt Wieters for a year and would shore up the closest thing the Nationals have to a weak link in their lineup.

Cons: The Nats have been built on power pitching, and this deal almost certainly will not happen without GM Mike Rizzo giving up at least a couple of his best arms. Washington probably wins the NL East again with or without a change at catcher.

Brewers

The acquisition: Rays RHP Chris Archer (trade).

Pros: Archer is 29 years old and signed to a team-friendly contract ($34 million) for the next four years. He would give Milwaukee a true ace for the front of the rotation and close the gap on the Cubs in the NL Central. Once Jimmy Nelson returns from September shoulder surgery, Milwaukee's rotation would be playoff-worthy.

Cons: Archer would cost the Brewers some of the Minor League depth they've worked so hard to accumulate. If the deal costs them outfield prospect Lewis Brinson, who's ranked No. 13 in the baseball, GM David Stearns will have a tough time giving the OK. Considering Archer's age and contract, he's worth it.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With no MLB offer, Ichiro might return to Japan

Agent holding out hope that he can find a big league job for outfielder
MLB.com @boomskie

SAN DIEGO -- The Major League Baseball career of Ichiro Suzuki may be fading to black, the video term for the end of a production or show.

At 44 years old, Ichiro has been pitched this offseason to most of the 30 Major League teams, thus far without any success. Spring Training is less than a month away. The lefty-swinging hitter with 3,080 career big league knocks wants to continue playing baseball, and if he isn't able to do so here, he may finish his iconic career in Japan where it all began, said his San Diego-based agent, John Boggs.

SAN DIEGO -- The Major League Baseball career of Ichiro Suzuki may be fading to black, the video term for the end of a production or show.

At 44 years old, Ichiro has been pitched this offseason to most of the 30 Major League teams, thus far without any success. Spring Training is less than a month away. The lefty-swinging hitter with 3,080 career big league knocks wants to continue playing baseball, and if he isn't able to do so here, he may finish his iconic career in Japan where it all began, said his San Diego-based agent, John Boggs.

"I don't really like to think about that," Boggs told MLB.com on Tuesday morning. "As every day goes by, I keep holding out hope that somebody will realize that he would be a tremendous asset for any organization."

Video: MIA@COL: Ichiro runs 19.8 MPH on 3,000th career hit

Ichiro, a certain first-ballot electee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame when the time comes, played the past three seasons in Miami. When new ownership recently took over the Marlins, it decided to give him a $500,000 buyout rather than exercise his $2 million option for the 2018 season.

Since then, Boggs said he's had extensive conversations with the Mariners and Padres, but to no avail. Both teams have moved on.

Ichiro, now a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter, has said he would like to play baseball until he's 50, and he is still in the type of physical condition to do it.

"I feel like a big dog at a pet shop that hasn't been sold," he said last month in Japan. "Of course, I want to play baseball next year."

About the possibility of playing in Japan for the first time since 2000, Ichiro added:

"When you use the word 'possibility,' there are many things -- it means anything is possible as long as it's not zero."

Complicating matters in MLB is the fact there are still a number of attractive free-agent outfielders available in a sluggish market, including J.D. Martinez, Lorenzo Cain and Carlos Gonzalez. Jay Bruce just agreed to a three-year, $39 million free-agent deal to return to the Mets, who traded him to Cleveland last season.

"We had great hopes at the beginning of all this that the Mariners would bring him back," Boggs said. "I wish there was more activities with clubs. I understand there are a lot of outfielders still out there."

Ichiro spent his first 11 1/2 seasons in Seattle before being traded to the Yankees midway through the 2012 season. In his first 10 seasons, he accumulated at least 200 hits each year, including an all-time single-season record of 262 in '04.

Including his 1,278 hits during nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan's Pacific League, Ichiro holds the all-time professional record with 4,358 hits.

Video: MIA@COL: Ichiro triples for his 3,000th hit

Boggs took over as Ichiro's agent in 2014, when the outfielder left the Yankees as a free agent. Like this year, Boggs found it hard to place Ichiro, who had negotiated his own deal to return to Orix in the event that he had no offer from an MLB team. The Marlins ultimately stepped in and signed him on Jan. 27, 2015. Ichiro became the first player of Japanese heritage to reach 3,000th hits in 2016, when he batted .291 and played in 143 games, starting 59 in the outfield.

"After he got his 3,000th hit, I realized what he told me all along -- that it wasn't about setting records, records come in time," Boggs said. "It was about playing the game of baseball, which he absolutely loves."

Last year, with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna getting most of the outfield starts for Miami, Ichiro played in 136 games, but made only 23 starts. He went from 365 plate appearances in 2016 to 215. Still, Ichiro batted .255 and had 50 hits, 27 of them pinch-hits, falling one short of the single-season record set in 1995 by John Vander Wal, then with the Rockies.

"The uniqueness of Ichiro lends to any team that will give him an opportunity to play," Boggs said. "To me, if you give him more at-bats, he's going to deliver."

Boggs said he will continue to make the rounds until he gets a bite.

"They know he's out there," Boggs said. "There was some hope with the Mets, and they signed Jay Bruce. There was some hope with the Reds if they moved Billy Hamilton, and then that didn't pan out. We're just waiting for the next shoe to drop. We keep being told, 'Check back, check back,' and I can say that with a half-dozen teams."

Spring Training starts earlier in Japan than it does in the U.S. The clock is obviously ticking.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ichiro Suzuki

Trade shakes up market for Cain, outfielders

MLB.com @jonmorosi

Gerrit Cole is an Astro. Andrew McCutchen is a Giant. Perhaps now a team other than the Pirates will stoke baseball's Hot Stove.

A few points on the ramifications of McCutchen's move to the Bay Area:

Gerrit Cole is an Astro. Andrew McCutchen is a Giant. Perhaps now a team other than the Pirates will stoke baseball's Hot Stove.

A few points on the ramifications of McCutchen's move to the Bay Area:

• Broadly speaking, this was not a great start to the week for Lorenzo Cain's marketplace. Unless his representatives are finalizing a deal that remains undetected by the hardball punditry, Cain lost one suitor -- and possibly two -- in Monday's moves.

The Giants no longer have room under the luxury-tax threshold to sign Cain at his projected salary. While San Francisco still wants to add a center fielder, it is seeking a defense-first player at the position who will be less expensive than Cain.

The Giants and Reds have discussed Billy Hamilton in trade talks throughout the offseason. According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, San Francisco is considering free agents Jarrod Dyson, Cameron Maybin and Jon Jay. Carlos Gomez is another free-agent option, coming off a season with the Rangers in which he was better than league average as a hitter and adequate defensively.

With McCutchen, 31, and Hunter Pence, 34, possibly starting in the corner-outfield spots, the Giants are prioritizing a center fielder with the ability to canvass the expansive outfield at AT&T Park. And Hamilton has been the best defensive center fielder in the Majors since 2014, according to Wins Above Replacement rankings at FanGraphs.com.

Video: Justice discusses Blue Jays' deal with Granderson

• The Blue Jays reduced their need for Cain by agreeing with Curtis Granderson on a one-year, $5 million contract, as first reported by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. While Granderson likely projects as a platoon player in his age-37 season, his presence could give Toronto enough assurances about the outfield to shift focus toward adding a starting pitcher.

One American League executive suggested Monday night that the White Sox are overlooked as a possible landing spot for Cain. Chicago has hinted at the possibility of major acquisitions in the coming year, and its long-term outfield depth chart is largely unclear -- with the notable exception of top prospect Eloy Jimenez.

Video: LAD@COL: Gonzalez belts a solo homer to right field

• The market for free-agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has been quiet, at least publicly, for much of the offseason. But with options now falling off the board -- including Jay Bruce going the Mets last week -- Gonzalez is inching upward on the list of top available players.

Gonzalez is the classic case for a one-year contract, and he's fortunate that teams in hitter-friendly ballparks -- such as the Rangers and Brewers -- are interested in outfielders for 2018. Although Gonzalez is coming off his worst full season in the Majors, he's young enough (32) to be an intriguing buy-low candidate. He posted a 25-homer, 100-RBI season as recently as 2016.

• While the Pirates' return for McCutchen -- right-hander Kyle Crick and outfielder Bryan Reynolds -- was criticized by some observers, other executives pointed out the difficulty in extracting significant value for one year of control, as McCutchen is eligible for free agency after the upcoming season.

One executive referenced the Tigers' side of the J.D. Martinez trade with the Diamondbacks in July: Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, none of whom projects as a future All-Star. And by some measures, Martinez has been the best-hitting outfielder in the Majors -- not named Mike Trout or Giancarlo Stanton -- since 2014.

Video: ARI@LAD Gm1: Martinez smacks a solo homer down line

• Speaking of Martinez, the McCutchen trade definitively eliminated the Giants as a possible destination for the top power-hitting outfielder on the free-agent market. The Red Sox -- apparently holding the line at a five-year offer -- and the D-backs remain the favorites for Martinez.

Arizona may need to move most of the money on Zack Greinke's contract in order to afford Martinez under the team's projected budget. But even with Greinke coming off a season in which he finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award balloting, he wouldn't be easy to trade. Greinke's average annual value of more than $34.4 million is the richest in Major League history, and he's signed through 2021.

At a time in the game's economic history when teams are increasingly cognizant of the luxury-tax threshold, very few clubs would be eager to inherit a contract of that magnitude.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network. He has also covered baseball for FOX Sports, the Detroit Free Press and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martin, Andrew McCutchen

Hoskins enjoying ride as new face of Phillies

'I think you have to take it by storm and enjoy it,' he says
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Rhys Hoskins has handled new celebrity about as well as anybody could be expected to handle it.

He is trying to enjoy the moment, while remaining true to himself.

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Rhys Hoskins has handled new celebrity about as well as anybody could be expected to handle it.

He is trying to enjoy the moment, while remaining true to himself.

"It's supposed to be fun," Hoskins said Monday evening at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet. "I think that's probably the best approach to take. Enjoy it. I think my thought is, what happened may never happen again. Tomorrow something might happen and tomorrow I might never be able to step on a baseball field again. I think you have to take it by storm and enjoy it."

Video: Must C Combo: Hoskins belts first two career HRs

Hoskins, 24, took baseball by storm late last season, smashing 18 home runs in 50 games, changing his life immeasurably in the process. He's now a fresh young face of a rebuilding organization, becoming more and more recognizable in the city and elsewhere.

"If you were to ask me a year ago if I would be walking down the streets of Philadelphia and people would recognize me, I would probably laugh at you, but that's where we are now," Hoskins said. "I was out to dinner late at night after a game [last season] and I had a little boy and his dad come up to me and congratulate me on the game. That's when I said, OK, this might be something that's about to be a part of my life. It was cool because I used to be that kid."

Hoskins is a face of the organization because he is expected to anchor the Phillies' lineup alongside first baseman Carlos Santana, whose free-agent signing in December moved Hoskins to left field. Hoskins is a first baseman by trade, but played left field upon joining the Phillies in August. He will play there regularly for the foreseeable future.

Video: Klentak, Kapler on Santana's impact on Phillies

"The signing of Carlos is exciting for the city, it's exciting for the team," Hoskins said. "We add a guy who's proven himself in this league for five, six years at a very, very high level. To enter that into the lineup and in the clubhouse with such a young team, I think, we're going to feel that exponentially throughout the year. But left field is a challenge. It's a challenge I'm definitely excited about. I started to feel more comfortable out there toward the end of the year. That just comes with reps. That's kind of what I've been focused on since the signing."

Hoskins has spent his offseason in San Diego, although he also spent a few weeks traveling through China and Thailand. He has been working out in left field, throwing to different bases and trying to get a better feel for the position.

He said he plans to arrive in Clearwater, Fla., before the end of the month, a couple weeks before the Phillies officially open camp.

"Just to get as many reps as I can, maybe more one-on-one time with the coaches in left field," Hoskins said. "I think I can be just fine [in left field]. I know I'm not going to be a Gold Glove. I just don't have the speed that some guys out there have, especially in today's game. I think I'll be just fine and contribute to the team defensively as much as I can, make the plays that I'm supposed to make."

Video: Hoskins discusses hopes to improve defensively

That's all Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez did in left field: Make the plays they were supposed to make. The Phillies are counting on Hoskins, like Burrell and Ibanez, to get on base and drive in runs.

"Absolutely," Hoskins said, when asked if the Phillies are better than they were at the end of last season. "We're older. Experience-wise there's a lot of guys that are still young, for sure. Myself, I've got 50 more games than when I started. I think the new staff is going to bring a lot of energy to the organization. I'm just kind of excited to see how it all pans out." 

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Philadelphia Phillies, Rhys Hoskins

MLB Buzz: Castellanos on the trade block?

MLB.com

The Hot Stove is open for business. As the top free agents begin to ink new deals and clubs begin to make the moves they think will vault them into contention or put them over the top, MLB.com will have you covered with all the latest buzz right here.

Hot Stove Tracker

The Hot Stove is open for business. As the top free agents begin to ink new deals and clubs begin to make the moves they think will vault them into contention or put them over the top, MLB.com will have you covered with all the latest buzz right here.

Hot Stove Tracker

Castellanos on the trade block?
While the Tigers were ultimately able to avoid an arbitration hearing with Nicholas Castellanos, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Detroit remains open to trading the rising slugger, citing multiple clubs that have engaged in discussions with the Tigers this offseason.

Castellanos, 25, agreed to a one-year, $6.05 million contract with the Tigers on Friday. Detroit's first-round Draft choice from 2010 is about to embark on his first full season in right field, but Fenech reports that the Tigers' uncertainty about his defensive ability could still lead to a trade before Opening Day. Castellanos has primarily manned third base during his first four full seasons in the Motor City, but he has rated below average in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in each of those campaigns. He played 21 games in right last season.

Castellanos' prowess at the plate is much less in doubt. He broke out for a career-high 26 home runs and 101 RBIs for the Tigers in 2017 while recording a league-adjusted 110 OPS+ (where 100 is average) and pacing the American League with 10 triples. He was even more productive in some respects in '16, finishing with a 120 OPS+ over 110 games. While Castellanos will be eligible for arbitration again next winter, he will not test the free-agent market until 2020. That means Castellanos, for the moment, represents a controllable, relatively cheap hitter coming into his own -- regardless of his defensive ability.

Tigers general manager Al Avila revealed at the Winter Meetings that the team approached Castellanos about a contract extension toward the end of last season, but that no progress has been made.

If Pirates aren't contending, J-Hay wants to be dealt
A day after Andrew McCutchen was traded to San Francisco, Josh Harrison effectively asked to be traded "if indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next" in a statement released Tuesday to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. Harrison, 30, is under contract for $10.25 million this year, with club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and '20 ($11.5 million). More >

Giants still looking for OF upgrades
Fresh off acquiring Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates on Monday, the Giants are trying to add even more talent to their outfield, with the former National League Most Valuable Player being told that he'll play a corner spot with the team this season, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

San Francisco's main desire is to upgrade defensively in center field, and sources tell ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that the Giants rank Jarrod Dyson as their most coveted option behind Lorenzo Cain. The club is also interested in Jon Jay and Cameron Maybin, according to Crasnick, but values Dyson's "speed, defensive metrics and stolen-base ability."

The Giants, after bringing in McCutchen via a trade with the Pirates, do not have the space under the luxury-tax threshold to sign Cain at his projected salary, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. Morosi reported that the club is looking to add a "defense-first player" in center field "who will be less expensive than Cain."

Dyson, Jay and Maybin will certainly all be less expensive than the former Royals center fielder, and Dyson led that group with seven Outs Above Average last season, according to Statcast™. Maybin was at plus-2 two while Jay was minus-3.

Dyson, 33, has stolen at least 25 bases in each of the past six seasons and would be a big boost to a Giants club that ranked 20th in the Majors with 76 steals last year. Jay has 51 steals in eight Major League seasons, but his .738 career on-base-plus-slugging percentage bests Dyson's .677 total.

Maybin owns a career .693 OPS and stole 33 bases during his time split between the Astros and Angels last season.

Brewers remain interested in Arrieta, Moustakas
The Brewers "continue to be in" on free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta and third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM.

The Brewers have been known to be seeking starting pitching in free agency, and Arrieta would certainly be a boost to Milwaukee's rotation, especially with Jimmy Nelson's 2018 status unclear. Nelson, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder in September, went 12-6 with a team-best 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings last season.

It was reported earlier in January that the Cubs and Cardinals were the two clubs most interested in Arrieta's services, but the Brewers' desire to sign the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner could create a potential bidding war between the NL Central rivals.

Arrieta, 31, went 64-29 with a 2.67 ERA in 119 starts for the Cubs over the past four seasons.

According to Bowden, the Brewers' interest in Moustakas comes with the idea that the club "could trade Travis Shaw" to the Yankees, Braves or Mets.

Milwaukee does not necessarily have a need at third base with the incumbent Shaw being younger and cheaper than Moustakas. The 27-year-old Shaw, under team control through 2022, also excelled for the Brewers last season, batting .273/.349/.513 with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs in 144 games.

Yankees believe they can sign Darvish for 'reasonable price'
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman's interest in signing right-hander Yu Darvish is "very real" because he believes the slowly developing free-agent market may translate into a "reasonable price" for Darvish, according to the New York Daily News.

Darvish is a four-time All-Star in five Major League seasons, posting a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts between the Rangers and Dodgers last season. He pitched well down the stretch for Los Angeles after being acquired at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and posted a 1.59 ERA between the National League Division Series and NL Championship Series. He was hit hard for nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 innings over two World Series starts.

Overall, the 31-year-old Darvish owns a career 3.42 ERA and 11 strikeouts per nine innings. If the Yankees were to sign him, he would join a starting rotation that already features Luis Severino, who finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting last season, as well as former All-Stars Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia.

Cashman has stated the Yankees want to remain under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million for 2018, and signing Darvish would likely require the club to unload salary elsewhere via trade in order to keep payroll below that figure.

The Yankees, who also traded for NL Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton earlier this offseason, came within a win of reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009 last October.

The Yankees, Rangers, Cubs, Astros and Twins previously had been reported as finalists for Darvish, but Darvish also said there is another team in the mix.

The first five teams come according to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson -- and the mystery team from Darvish himself.

Darvish tweeted Wednesday night that he knows "one more team is in."

Tweet from @faridyu: I know one more team is in. https://t.co/exxubGP7Qo

Video: Rosenthal discusses Rangers' interest in Darvish

D-backs remain persistent in pursuit of Machado
It remains to be seen whether the Orioles will deal Manny Machado this winter, but the D-backs remain the most persistent among the potential trade suitors, according MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

The D-backs have been one of several teams in pursuit of Machado since Baltimore began fielding offers. The two sides aren't close to an agreement, Rosenthal said, but Arizona second baseman Brandon Drury is one of the players under discussion in a potential deal. The Yankees and Red Sox have also been recently linked to the 25-year-old infielder.

If a trade did come to fruition, the D-backs would bolster an already talented roster that made the National League Division Series last season. That core wouldn't be locked down long term, however; Machado, outfielder A.J. Pollock and left-hander Patrick Corbin are eligible for free agency after this season, while first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's contact is up after 2019 and third baseman Jake Lamb's deal expires after 2020.

Machado is a .279/.329/.476 hitter with 138 home runs and 406 RBIs in 764 games over six Major League seasons, while also being regarded annually as one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.

A two-time Gold Glove Award winner, Machado has requested a move to shortstop, his natural position. It's a move that could increase his value even more as he looks to land a large contract next offseason.

Video: D-backs showing interest in trading for Machado

Martinez waiting game continues
The Red Sox would very much like J.D. Martinez, and he appears to be interested in Boston. The "Will they or won't they?" free-agent drama of the Hot Stove season is at a stalemate, and could stay that way for a while.

Martinez is willing to "hold out" into Spring Training to get what he considers his market value, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported. Heyman cited sources he calls "Miami acquaintances of Martinez" in his report, which indicated that the Red Sox have extended a five-year offer in the $120 million-$150 million range.

But the slugger is looking for more after a season in which he hit 45 home runs in 119 games with the Tigers and D-backs. Indications are that at least one other team has offered Martinez a five-year deal, according to Heyman. Martinez reportedly would prefer a six-year contract.

The Jays and D-backs have been linked to Martinez, but the Red Sox are still considered the heavy front-runner for his services for several reasons. For one, they are a big-market team with an obvious need for a big bat, especially after a season in which their power production stalled significantly. Second, the Red Sox seem primed to make a counter move to keep up with the Yankees, who have made the biggest splash of the offseason by trading for National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

Martinez's monster second half (.306/.372/.751, 31 homers) rivaled -- and in some metrics outpaced -- Stanton's second half (.287/.393/.702, 33 homers), after Martinez caught fire following a trade to Arizona. He's reportedly committed to cashing in on those numbers, even if it means waiting a little longer than usual.

Castro requests trade from Marlins
Starlin Castro, acquired in the December deal that sent slugger Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, has requested a trade from Miami, sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Castro "does not want to be a part of another rebuilding process" as he was when he was with the Cubs from 2010-15.

Video: Starlin Castro reportedly requests trade from Marlins

The Marlins are in the midst of a full rebuild, and it's been expected that Miami would try to flip Castro to another team. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported last week that the Marlins might ultimately keep the 27-year-old infielder.

Castro is to make nearly $11 million in 2018 and almost $12 million in 2019. His contract comes with a $16 million club option for 2020.

Castro, a four-time All-Star, batted .283/.317/.442 with 37 home runs and 133 RBIs in 263 games over two seasons with the Yankees after hitting .281/.321/.404 with 62 homers and 363 RBIs across six seasons with the Cubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J-Hay desires trade if Bucs won't contend in '18

With Cutch, Cole gone, 2B says also dealing him could 'be better for all involved'
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates traded two franchise cornerstones over the long weekend, giving up Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen for young players and prospects. If their roster "retooling" takes them out of the postseason picture, Josh Harrison doesn't want to be a part of it.

In a statement released Tuesday to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Harrison effectively asked to be traded "if indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next." Harrison, 30, is under contract for $10.25 million this year, with club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and '20 ($11.5 million).

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates traded two franchise cornerstones over the long weekend, giving up Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen for young players and prospects. If their roster "retooling" takes them out of the postseason picture, Josh Harrison doesn't want to be a part of it.

In a statement released Tuesday to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Harrison effectively asked to be traded "if indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next." Harrison, 30, is under contract for $10.25 million this year, with club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and '20 ($11.5 million).

Video: Pirates owner Bob Nutting explains McCutchen trade

Harrison has been mentioned in trade rumors throughout the offseason, but the Pirates are thought to be seeking a high return for the super-utility man given his versatility and three remaining years of club control.

"Baseball is a business, and I understand that trades are part of the business," Harrison said in a statement published on The Athletic. "While I love this game, the reality is that I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.

Video: Pirates could be be competitive in '18 with Harrison

"My passion for Pittsburgh, what it has MEANT to me, what it MEANS to me, can never be questioned. I love this city, I love the fans, I love my teammates. Saying that, the GM is on record as saying, 'When we get back to postseason-caliber baseball, we would love our fans to come back out.' If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved that I also am traded. I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a big leaguer."

Video: Harrison's future in Pittsburgh uncertain

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he addressed the issue in an interview on KDKA-FM, the club's flagship radio station. Huntington said he spoke with Harrison on Tuesday and walked through the veteran's thoughts and concerns.

"We love Josh's passion, love the fire and what he's done for this team and this organization. We want what's best for this organization. Josh wants to win, and so do we," Huntington said. "We've had a lengthy exchange today. We agree with him. We want what's best for the organization. We want to win, and we want to win sooner than later."

Even after trading Cole and McCutchen, Pirates management insisted Monday the team intends to compete this year. The Bucs have stayed away from the term "rebuild" -- instead calling it a "retool" -- primarily because they believe they are not far away from being postseason contenders again.

"What I can tell you is there's a group of players that's going to show up every day to defy the odds," Huntington said Monday. "In our minds, a rebuild implies you're looking five years down the road. This team is going to show up ready to go in Spring Training, ready to compete, ready to defy odds, just like that 2013 Pirates team did."

Video: Pirates GM Huntington talks about McCutchen trade

Harrison was the Pirates' most valuable player last season, according to Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement formula, with 3.3 WAR. McCutchen was Harrison's best friend on Pittsburgh's roster. When McCutchen was dealt to the Giants on Monday, Harrison became the Bucs' longest-tenured player.

Drafted by the Cubs in 2008, Harrison made his Major League debut for the Pirates in '11. After a few up-and-down years, he established himself as an everyday player with an All-Star season in '14. In April '15, Harrison signed a four-year, $27.3 million extension with two club options.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Josh Harrison

White Sox prospects Moncada, Robert bonding

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Robert's training begins once he steps into Yoan Moncada's rental car each morning.

The 10-minute drive from the nearby hotel to Camelback Ranch, home of the White Sox Spring Training facility and the site of this week's hitters mini-camp, is short but helpful. Robert peppers Moncada with questions about baseball and life in the United States after living in Cuba. The second baseman does his best to answer them while he maneuvers a white sedan to the complex.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Robert's training begins once he steps into Yoan Moncada's rental car each morning.

The 10-minute drive from the nearby hotel to Camelback Ranch, home of the White Sox Spring Training facility and the site of this week's hitters mini-camp, is short but helpful. Robert peppers Moncada with questions about baseball and life in the United States after living in Cuba. The second baseman does his best to answer them while he maneuvers a white sedan to the complex.

"Growing up, I don't think we ever imagined we would be here," said Robert, 20, who first met Moncada as a young teen on the baseball fields in Cuba. "It's really good to have someone from Cuba to be a guide and speed up the adjustment."

Together, Moncada and Robert represent part of the future for the franchise. Separately, the young Cubans are working to solidify their place in the organization. Robert, who defected from Cuba in late 2016 and signed with the White Sox last May for a $26 million bonus, is entering his first full Minor League season in the United States. Moncada, who signed a $31.5 million deal with the Red Sox out of Cuba in 2015, will enter his first full big league season as the White Sox starting second baseman.

Video: Rick Hahn discusses importance of White Sox mini-camp

Robert and Moncada were teammates on Cuba's U-18 team in 2013.

Robert, who is ranked as the No. 23 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, admits it will take time to adjust to life in the United States. He doesn't speak English and understands there are cultural differences he will face. That's where Moncada will step in to help Robert, just like White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who is also from Cuba, helped him. Robert said an uncle from Cuba who lives in California will also help in the transition to the United States.

However, some things will remain the same. Robert's days in the Dominican Republic, where he lives, are spent working out, and he hopes to create a similar routine in the United States. He's looking forward to learning new training techniques.

Video: Luis Robert homers in his first pro at-bat in the DSL

Robert's contract gives him the type of financial freedom he could have never imagined, but he said he's still the same homebody he was before he signed the multimillion dollar deal. And yes, Robert likes video games and having fun with social media, like other people his age, but he said he left everything behind in Cuba to become a Major League player, so that's what he is focusing on.

"My life has changed in many ways, but maybe the biggest change since I signed is that I don't worry about what's next," Robert said in Spanish. "My life is tranquil. I can just concentrate on the game and my family, and not where I am going to sign."

The most significant change in Robert's life has been a personal one. His parents and sisters recently joined him in Santo Domingo.

"It's important to keep in mind this year that so much of what is going to happen with him from a developmental standpoint is going to happen off the field," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's a thrill watching him in BP and make these fields look small, and it's going to be fun to watch him in Spring Training, and ultimately, whatever affiliate he gets assigned to for the 2018 season. But no matter how he performs, a lot of what he's going to get used to is life in the States, different culture and a different type of baseball, different expectations, and different schedule and different diets."

Video: Renteria's impressions of Robert and Jimenez

Since joining the White Sox, Robert has played in the Dominican Summer League and participated in the White Sox instructional league at the club's Dominican Academy. He will be in big league camp for Spring Training next month. There's a chance he will be assigned to one of the club's Class A affiliates at Kannapolis or Winston-Salem (Advanced) for the regular season.

"I'd like to be in the big leagues like everyone else, but I don't know the plan for me right now," Robert said. "I'm just going to focus on doing my work and getting better."

As for Moncada, he finished the 2017 season with a .231 batting average, eight home runs, 22 RBIs, 31 runs scored and three stolen bases. He hit .211 in 20 plate appearances with the Red Sox in 2016, and he later was acquired by Chicago from Boston as part of the package for pitcher Chris Sale during the offseason.

Like many young players with his experience level, Moncada is a work in progress.

Video: Top Prospects: Luis Robert, OF, White Sox

"[Yoan] is extremely young with half of a year of big league play under his belt," Hahn said. "I think he is going to be a lot more comfortable and know more about how the pitchers are trying to get him out, and how he needs to adjust, and he knows he's going to be out there in the lineup every day."

The immediate future for Moncada and Robert includes a trip to a Cuban restaurant near the hotel for a taste of the island. It's another chance for them to catch up on the past and dream about the future.

"Yoan is still very young and still establishing himself as a big leaguer," Hahn said. "The fact that he is taking such care and consideration for one of his younger teammates going through something he went through himself speaks highly about his character."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago White Sox, Yoan Moncada

Giant move: SF acquires McCutchen from Pirates

Club adds former NL MVP to lineup in exchange for prospects Reynolds, Crick, international slot money
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

The Giants reaffirmed their win-now approach with Monday's acquisition of Andrew McCutchen, while the Pirates maintained their focus on the future by trading the popular outfielder for right-hander Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds.

The Giants broke a lot of hearts in Pittsburgh by obtaining McCutchen, who had become synonymous with baseball in that city during his nine-year tenure there, and cash considerations. This followed San Francisco's Dec. 20 move that sent four players to Tampa Bay for third baseman Evan Longoria, who evolved into the Rays' most popular everyday performer.

The Giants reaffirmed their win-now approach with Monday's acquisition of Andrew McCutchen, while the Pirates maintained their focus on the future by trading the popular outfielder for right-hander Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds.

The Giants broke a lot of hearts in Pittsburgh by obtaining McCutchen, who had become synonymous with baseball in that city during his nine-year tenure there, and cash considerations. This followed San Francisco's Dec. 20 move that sent four players to Tampa Bay for third baseman Evan Longoria, who evolved into the Rays' most popular everyday performer.

Video: McCutchen, Longoria will help defense and lineup

"Andrew is a remarkable talent and will be a difference maker in our lineup," Giants senior vice president and general manager Bobby Evans said in a news release. "We're honored to have him and look forward to seeing him in a Giants uniform."

Video: Giants trade prospects to Pirates for McCutchen

The Giants sent Pittsburgh $500,000 in international bonus pool space, while according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, the Bucs will pay $2.5 million of the $14.5 million McCutchen is owed in 2018, the last year of his contract.

San Francisco hopes it has upgraded the club's offense by adding McCutchen as well as Longoria. The Giants ranked last in the Majors a season ago in home runs (128) and slugging percentage (.380), and they were next-to-last in runs (639) and on-base percentage (.309). No Giants player managed to hit 20 home runs last year, a figure that McCutchen has exceeded for seven consecutive seasons. Longoria has hit 20 or more homers in all but one of his 10 big league seasons.

• McCutchen's new teammates very excited

"It's no secret that we were looking to further add run production to our lineup," Giants executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean said in the news release. "Anytime you have the opportunity to bring aboard someone with such a track record, you have to jump on it."

Securing both veterans reflected the Giants' intent to improve upon their performance in 2017, when they finished last in the National League West. Their 64-98 record was their second-worst since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Video: Rosenthal discusses Giants' trade for McCutchen

McCutchen, 31, has slipped from the form that earned him National League Most Valuable Player honors in 2013. However, after posting career lows in batting average (.256) and OPS (.766) in 2016, the five-time All-Star rebounded last season to hit .279 with an .849 OPS, garnished by 28 home runs and 88 RBIs.

"Andrew is a dynamic player on the field and will be a leader in our clubhouse," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He's always been a threat at the plate, and he's a guy you don't ever want to deal with, whether he's at the plate or on the bases; he's going to make something happen."

McCutchen expressed his gratitude toward Pirates fans through Twitter.

Tweet from @TheCUTCH22: Pittsburgh.My Home.My Fans.My City. The placed that raised me and helped mold me into the man I am today. You will 4ever be in my heart.A tip of the cap to all who have been on this journey with me. With Love and respect,Cutch pic.twitter.com/QB0n9vuBuZ

"There is simply nothing easy about this decision," Pirates chairman Bob Nutting said in a club statement. "It is one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure. Not only because of the type of player Andrew is, but also because of Andrew the person and for what he has meant to me personally, to our organization, to our fans, and to our community. It has been an honor to see first-hand Andrew grow into the man that he is today."

• GIFs of McCutchen's best plays

Video: McCutchen on award, Clemente's spirit

The position McCutchen will occupy is uncertain. He played exclusively center field until last year, when he started 13 games in right. According to Statcast™, McCutchen was assigned zero Outs Above Average (OAA) last season. That reflected a significant improvement over 2016, when he recorded a negative-11 OAA. However, McCutchen also checked in with a negative-14 Defensive Runs Saved and a negative-4.5 Ultimate Zone Rating. These factors, combined with the oversized dimensions of AT&T Park's outfield, make McCutchen a candidate to play a corner spot.

That conceivably leaves the Giants still searching for a center fielder. Like most teams, the Giants would prefer to keep their player payroll under $197 million to avoid paying into the luxury tax and limiting their economic flexibility.

Video: Justice discusses McCutchen trade to Giants

Adding McCutchen's salary for 2018 won't push the Giants over the limit. But they likely would break the $197 million ceiling by signing a relatively pricey free agent -- specifically, Lorenzo Cain -- to play center. That doesn't include the second- and fifth-round Draft choices the Giants would forfeit by signing Cain, as well as the $1 million reduction in their pool for international bonus money.

Thus, with center-field prospect Steven Duggar said to be slightly less than a year away from being ready for the Majors, the Giants might try to upgrade the position with a relatively affordable free agent, such as Jarrod Dyson, Jon Jay or Cameron Maybin. Trading for Cincinnati speedster Billy Hamilton also remains an option.

Meanwhile, the Pirates continued to expand their supply of unproven yet promising players, as was the case Saturday when they traded right-hander Gerrit Cole to Houston for four prospects.

The Giants crowed that they secured a player with first-round talent when they selected Reynolds, 22, in the second round of the 2016 Draft. But the emergence of Duggar, who's rated San Francisco's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, made it easier for the organization to part with the switch-hitting Reynolds, who batted .312 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs for Class A Advanced San Jose last year.

Crick, 25, made his Major League debut last season and recorded a 3.06 ERA in 30 games. He limited opponents to a .191 batting average.

Video: Cutch trade boosts Posey's value in Giants' lineup

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Given the Pirates and Giants both have pitcher-friendly home parks and ranked among the bottom five Major League clubs in runs scored last season, the move to San Francisco will not change McCutchen's fantasy value significantly. Having hit .279 with 28 homers, 88 RBIs, 94 runs and 11 steals in '17, the veteran still profiles as a top 20 fantasy outfielder who can make solid across-the-board contributions. He joins a Giants club that also added Longoria this offseason, providing Buster Posey with the support he needs to remain among the top three catcher assets heading into 2018 drafts. Meanwhile, McCutchen's departure from Pittsburgh slightly lowers the value of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Josh Bell. Moreover, Felipe Rivero is less likely to rank among the saves leaders after the Pirates traded two core players (McCutchen and Cole) in recent days.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. MLB.com reporter Daniel Kramer contributed to this report.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Francisco Giants, Andrew McCutchen

Source: Grandy, Toronto agree to 1-year pact

Club yet to announce deal; vet will compete for OF job
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays shifted their attention to the outfield Monday night by reaching an agreement with veteran Curtis Granderson on a one-year deal worth $5 million.

Toronto has yet to officially announce the signing, but it was first reported by MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal and has since been confirmed by MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending a physical and also includes incentives based on playing time.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays shifted their attention to the outfield Monday night by reaching an agreement with veteran Curtis Granderson on a one-year deal worth $5 million.

Toronto has yet to officially announce the signing, but it was first reported by MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal and has since been confirmed by MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending a physical and also includes incentives based on playing time.

Granderson is coming off a season in which he hit .212 with 26 home runs and 70 RBIs over 147 games with the Mets and Dodgers. The 36-year-old made a handful of appearances for Los Angeles during the postseason, but was left off the roster for the World Series.

Video: Granderson talks about his veteran presence

The Blue Jays remain in the market for additional help in the outfield, but this signing makes it harder to envision the club adding a high-profile name to the mix. President Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins appear to have a clear strategy this offseason of spreading their available money around to multiple players instead of spending most of it on one player.

Toronto took that approach with the infield by acquiring Yangervis Solarte, Aledmys Diaz and Gift Ngoepe. It appears to be the strategy for the outfield as well with the focus on depth and complementary pieces. Granderson falls into that category, as he's expected to form a platoon with Steve Pearce in one of the corner outfield spots. Kevin Pillar remains the starter in center field, which leaves one job up for grabs.

Rookie Teoscar Hernandez is one internal candidate, and the Blue Jays also control Ezequiel Carrera, who recently avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $1.9 million. Toronto could use another big bat -- and someone like free agent Lorenzo Cain appears to be a perfect fit -- but the club also is starting to run out of funds.

Video: MLB Tonight on Granderson agreeing to join Blue Jays

Toronto has a projected payroll of $151 million after factoring in arbitration and pre-arbitration players on the roster. Per club policy, the Blue Jays do not publicly disclose payroll parameters, but the range for 2018 is expected to be the same as it was for '17, which was approximately $165 million.

That left the Blue Jays with a range of $10 million to $15 million to spend this offseason. In addition to another outfielder, the club is in the market for a fifth starter and possibly an additional lefty reliever. With multiple needs, that money will have to be divided up, so a big signing through free agency may prove difficult.

Granderson is entering the latter stages of his career, but he still possesses quite a bit of power. The 15-year veteran has at least 20 home runs in four consecutive seasons and can play either corner outfield spot. He also struck out 123 times in 449 at-bats last season, and six stolen bases showed Granderson is no longer a speed threat.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Toronto Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson