“This is a game of adjustments,” new Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen (above with manager Gabe Kapler) said yesterday. “I’ve definitely had to make some adjustments over the years, and I know that I can be even better than what I’ve been over the past few (seasons). There has been a decline, yes, but I do understand what I’m capable of doing.”
By Sam Bush
You gotta’ love a former superstar with the balls to admit he’s not as good as he once was.
And the Phillies hope that Andrew McCutchen adjusts to his talent and to Philly as they look toward 2019.
They introduced their newest outfielder yesterday, a week after giving him a $50 million, three-year contract that includes a team option for 2022 and could be worth $62 million over four seasons.
McCutchen hit .255 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs in 155 games this year for San Francisco and the New York Yankees. His average was a career low and his homers and RBIs were his fewest since 2010. He spent his first nine years in Pittsburgh and was the 2013 NL Most Valuable Player.
“I know I can be better, and that’s what I’ve been doing all offseason: preparing and working, and that’s not going to stop,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being even better than I’ve been. I’m never satisfied, and I don’t settle with what I’ve done. That’s just the person I am.”
The 32-year-old McCutchen was an All-Star each season from 2011 to ’15, topping .300 in batting average from 2012 to ’14. He has 223 homers, a .287 average and 790 RBIs in 10 major league seasons. He has a higher on-base percentage (.378) than anyone else on their current roster and his slugging percentage (.481) is second only to Rhys Hoskins (.525).
“I’ve never played an entire season in a hitters’ park. I’m looking forward to that,” McCutchen said of hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
Hoskins came out to see McCutchen and talked about the team’s offseason moves. The Phillies acquired shortstop Jean Segura from Seattle and are pursuing free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
“I think we’ve (added) some pretty good baseball players so far, really exciting,” Hoskins said. “A couple of more veteran guys in Segura and Cutch, which I really think will add to the clubhouse presence and just kind of overall environment, especially when we get late in the year. These guys have been through that. And it will be nice for the bulk of us to be able to lean on them and kind of get us through that.”
Hoskins and Harper share an agent, Scott Boras, so Hoskins has talked to the 2015 NL MVP.
“It’s just more of me offering any look at to what this city is like, what the organization is like, what the clubhouse is like, what Kap is like,” Hoskins said. “It’s not me offering information to him. If he wants it, and I’ve expressed this to him, that I am here for a chat if he wants it and it’d help.”
McCutchen hasn’t been part of any recruiting process but is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Phillies improve. Philadelphia finished 80-82 last season after leading the NL East on Aug. 11.
“I saw this team from afar and played against them, and I saw what they were able to do this season,” McCutchen said. “They fell a little short, but something I realize is that it’s there. I’m happy to be a part of it and help push this team forward to winning a championship.”