The Giants dealt highly regarded infielder Christian Arroyo in last month's trade with the Rays for Evan Longoria, meaning there is not much to like from a farm system that really isn't that great to begin with.
With McCutchen, the Giants are acquiring a player who is a five-time All-Star who had a 122 wRC+ (100 is league average) last season. While the 31-year-old likely won't return to his MVP form, he proved he still has something left in the tank and figures to play an important role for the Giants this season.
But after three playoff berths in a row from 2013-15 (two of which ended in one and done fashion), the Pirates came back to the back over the last two seasons, finishing below.500 and out of the playoff hunt. He helped end the Pirates' two-decade span of losing baseball by lifting the team to three straight postseason appearances.
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The Florida native had played for the Pirates since 2009. He is owed $14.75 million in the final year of his deal, and there are enough outfielders still on the market that teams don't need to rush into a bidding war.
After a down 2016, McCutchen rebounded to put together a strong (though not otherworldly) 2017 season, hitting.279/.363/.486 with 28 home runs. A four-time Silver Slugger, he has a career total of 203 home runs. Unlike Longoria, McCutchen has just one season remaining before he's eligible for free agency.
McCutchen's contributions at the plate should outweigh his poor defense, which makes this trade a logical move for a Giants team that aims for big improvement in 2018.