Andrew McCutchen to Move from CF to RF in 2017: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 2: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates misplays a fly ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

After eight years as the Pittsburgh Pirates' center fielder, veteran Andrew McCutchen will move to right field in 2017, manager Clint Hurdle announced Sunday, per ESPN.com.

Left fielder Starling Marte will move to center field, while Gregory Polanco will take Marte's place in left.

McCutchen has played 1,175 games and 10,317.1 innings in center field throughout his major league career, and it's the only position he has ever played in the field, though he has served as a designated hitter on a few occasions.

The 30-year-old has not been the most effective fielder despite winning a Gold Glove in 2012. In six of his eight big league seasons, he has possessed a negative defensive WAR (dWAR).

In 2016, his minus-2.6 dWAR was the worst rating among all center fielders in the majors, per ESPN.com.

Marte has played in three fewer seasons than McCutchen, but his 6.0 career dWAR is exceptionally better than McCutchen's minus-3.9 mark.

Last season, McCutchen also put up a career-worst .256 batting average, .336 on-base percentage, .430 slugging percentage and .766 OPS. Despite being a five-time All-Star and fifth on the franchise's all-time home runs list, McCutchen's name has cropped up on the trade market on multiple occasions this winter as a result of his down season.

With Hurdle looking to "maximize our outfield production," per ESPN.com, putting McCutchen in right field decreases the number of plays that come his way and gives him less ground to cover compared to his center field duties.

The move might not only improve his defensive play, but it could also keep him fresher throughout the season and help him improve his offensive game as well.

     

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.

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