Today, the Phillies inked Andrew McCutchen to a three-year deal worth $50 million.
The Andrew McCutchen deal is for three years — plus a club option — and $50 million, according to sources.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 11, 2018
That’s fairly lengthy and expensive for a player who is clearly in the midst of a decline from his MVP-caliber days, which will play into who the Braves realistically will acquire to fill their outfield void.
Braves beat writer, Mark Bowman, touched on what that means for other potential options.
Before McCutchen agreed to his 3-year deal with the Phillies, the Braves viewed him, Gonzalez and Markakis as potential options w/ a 1-2 yr. deal. Brantley will likely only become an option if he has to settle for less than 3 years. Puig remains a fallback option.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 11, 2018
Players like Brantley, who has been linked to Atlanta, may no longer be attainable. If a team is willing to offer McCutchen three years, there are certainly teams out there who will be willing to match that length for Brantley. The longtime Indians outfielder will also be looking at a payday around $20 million annually, likely taking the Braves out of the running.
That leaves Gonzalez and Markakis as the two free agent options that make the most sense right now. Neither is exactly what the Braves wanted, but both are serviceable players that will come at a much cheaper rate without any long-term risk.
However, what Braves fans should keep an eye on now is a trade. Bowman mentions Puig as a possible fallback option. The Dodgers have also been rumored to be shopping Joc Pederson and maybe even Cody Bellinger. Los Angeles looks to be a main player in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, making them an ideal trade partner for Atlanta’s needs.
Update: Per Jon Heyman, It doesn’t appear the Dodgers are interested in dealing Bellinger.
Impression from a rival about the Dodgers: “Any of their guys are in play except Buehler and Bellinger.” (My add: we’ll assume Kershaw, Turner, Seager and Jansen probably aren’t going anywhere either).
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2018
Stay tuned as things could be changing quite soon.