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Andrew McCutchen was the Giants’ best hitter, person

His time with the Giants was short-lived, but he made a lot of memories.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stat Line

With Giants: 568 PA, .255/.357/.415, 15 HR, 55 RBI

Overall: 682 PA, .255/.368/.424, 20 HR, 65 RBI

The Andrew McCutchen trade might not be remembered with the same sort of fondness as the Hunter Pence trade or the Cody Ross acquisition, but it wasn’t a bad move. You could almost argue that it was the best offseason move made by the Giants last year. (It wasn’t. Signing Tony Watson was the best move, and it’s not especially close.)

There were two ways for the trade to work out. McCutchen could have kept up his resurgent 2017 campaign and helped the Giants into a postseason berth. Or McCutchen could have kept up his resurgent 2017 while the rest of the team got sucked into the Swamp of Sadness allowing the Giants to flip him for prospects.

The move wasn’t without its risks. McCutchen could have taken a step back or gotten hurt around the deadline. Kyle Crick could have turned into this year’s It-Reliever. But none of that happened. Crick turned in a good season, but the Giants needed a competent bat more than they needed another bullpen arm.

McCutchen may not have blown the doors down, but he had a solid season. After the Brandons faded away, McCutchen was the Giants best hitter. He was technically the only Giant to finish with 20 or more homers since Brandon Crawford hit 21 in 2015. He led Giants hitters with at least 100 plate appearances in wRC+ at 115 and wOBA at .338. If you’re not into nerd stats, he also led the team in RBI, runs scored, stolen bases, walks, and he tied for the team lead in doubles.

Now, McCutchen spent a month of the season playing for a different team. His leading the team in counting stats is as much a testament to his success as it is an indictment of the Giants’ offense. McCutchen didn’t top any leaderboards, but he gave the Giants an above-average bat in the outfield. They haven’t had one of those in a while.

Role on the 2018 Team

McCutchen was the everyday right fielder and a regular leadoff hitter. More importantly, he was one of the few Giants unafraid to emote on the field. When the Giants express emotions, they’re typically ones of anger and affront at other players for expressing joy and exuberance. But Andrew McCutchen served as a helpful reminder that baseball, a game and entertainment product, is supposed to be fun.

Role on the 2019 Team

There isn’t no chance of McCutchen returning in 2019. The league’s sudden reluctance on free agents could force him into taking a one-year deal, and McCutchen would be a fine option under those terms. But the Giants shouldn’t be making long-term commitments to outfielders over 30. Most likely, McCutchen will sign with another team. The Yankees apparently love him because what’s not to like?

Final Grade: A

Not only was McCutchen the best hitter on the team, he delivered one of the best moments of the season.

You know, if the Giants still had McCutchen for that last series against the Dodgers they would have won at least one of those games.