LAS VEGAS -- The Phillies are on the verge of adding a former National League Most Valuable Player Award winner to their outfield, but his name is not Bryce Harper.
A source told on Tuesday that the Phillies and Andrew McCutchen have reached an agreement on a three-year, $50 million contract, pending a physical. The Athletic reports the deal includes a club option for a fourth season.
McCutchen's arrival does not remove the Phillies from the Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes. The Phillies plan to meet with their agents this week at the Winter Meetings, and they very well could meet in person with Harper. It is unclear if Philadelphia has already met with Machado. But McCutchen's addition to the Phillies' lineup -- the organization believes he will hit well at Citizens Bank Park -- means Philadelphia might not feel as pressured to sign either Harper or Machado.
It could open other doors, too, allowing the Phillies to trade an outfielder like Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams, who could help them address another need. The Phillies remain in the market for a starting pitcher, although they prefer to sign free-agent left-hander J.A. Happ. He is seeking a three-year contract. The Indians continue to shop former American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and right-hander Trevor Bauer.
Sources said the Phillies remain in the hunt for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, too.
It is not a stretch to see the Phillies making a trade to "move the needle," as Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has said is the team's offseason goal. The Phillies have been shopping top prospect Sixto Sanchez, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. Sanchez is the type of talent that could pry somebody like Kluber or Realmuto away from a team, if other pieces make sense, too.
But saying that, the Phillies still believe they have upgraded their outfield with McCutchen, who turned 32 in October. He is not the player that won the 2013 NL MVP Award with the Pirates, but he continues to hit. McCutchen batted a combined .255 with 20 home runs, 65 RBIs and a .792 OPS last season with the Giants and Yankees. He posted an .892 OPS in 114 plate appearances with the Yankees.
McCutchen has posted a 121 OPS+ the past two seasons. No Phillies outfielder other than Rhys Hoskins posted league-average offense or better last season.
It is unclear if McCutchen will play left or right field. McCutchen posted two Defensive Runs Saved in right field last season. Statcast™, however, listed him at -11 Outs Above Average, which ranked 82nd out of 87 qualified outfielders.
Regardless of the metrics, if the Phillies put McCutchen in left field, he will be an upgrade over Hoskins, who will play first base in 2019. Hoskins posted -24 DRS and -19 OAA in left field.
Todd Zolecki/

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