There’s been so much negativity surrounding the Phillies recently, and rightfully so.
After rumors of star pitcher Zack Wheeler being on the trading block were shot down by John Middleton, fans still haven’t settled down. Those rumors were so believable that it feels like we’re just all waiting for something bad to happen.
But let’s pretend nothing bad happens and think positively for a change. Let’s say no one valuable gets traded, and the Phillies actually sign a bullpen arm or two, and possibly a certain catcher who’s available. Those moves could put them in contention for a playoff spot. But the team obviously needs some of the poor performers of last season to step it up in 2021.
Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, and Aaron Nola all need to be better next season.
One of the most important pieces, however, could be Andrew McCutchen.
There’s no denying that he’s a far cry from his All-Star and MVP days in Pittsburgh, but his bat at the top of the Phillies lineup could be instrumental in the team’s ability to score runs.
Cutch finished the 2020 season hitting .253/.324/.433 with ten home runs and 34 RBI. His on-base percentage was the lowest of his career last year. With an improvement in that metric, the Phillies’ offense could be electric.
Think about it: Bryce Harper was an animal for much of last year, but it seemed like he thought he needed to carry the team on his back.
Alec Bohm, the Rookie of the Year runner up, will be with the team all season. An improved Hoskins, and possibly J.T. Realmuto hitting behind him, there’s a lot of firepower behind McCutchen. If Cutch can help the team get a few more runs per game, that could give the Phillies some more wiggle room when it comes time to bring the question mark of the bullpen into the game.
The other thing to consider with Cutch is the designated hitter in the National League or lack thereof. It’s looking more and more like there won’t be a DH this season, which means fewer opportunities for McCutchen. With his potential shaky knees, he may not be able to play the outfield every day. If his bat is hot, it’ll make it difficult for him to ride the bench.
Plus, the Phillies outfield is already pretty suspect, outside of Harper that is.
There continues to be speculation over the center field between Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn. Odubel Herrera’s name gets thrown around for some unknown reason. While Cutch may have lost a step in the field, he still knows how to play the game, and his veteran leadership is greatly needed.
He’s not going to be an All-Star this year, those days are behind him. But McCutchen still has a lot left to offer.
We started this piece by talking about positivity…
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 29, 2020
Cutch is the epitome of positivity and professionalism. And that kind of attitude can go a long way with a team that has had so much negativity surrounding it for the better part of a year.
Plus, how can you beat these types of celebrations?
Featured Image: David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer