Andrew McCutchen did some homework before signing with the Phillies.
"I reached out to Shane Victorino to get his insights," McCutchen said at his introductory news conference Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.
"He said some great things. He loved it here and he felt I would love it, too."
McCutchen signed a three-year contract with the Phillies last week. The deal guarantees him $50 million. He will play a corner outfield spot and most likely bat in the fifth or sixth spot in manager Gabe Kapler's lineup. McCutchen will also wear Kapler's former No. 22. Kapler wore that number last year and gave it up after a conversation with McCutchen, who wore No. 22 during his nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
McCutchen was a former first-round draft pick of the Pirates. He embraced the Pittsburgh community, did extensive charity work in the area, married a local girl and still lives in that area. He and his wife, Maria, have a young son named, fittingly enough, Steel. ("We wanted a strong name," McCutchen said.) He was thrilled when the Phillies showed interest because it keeps him close to home.
McCutchen had a four-year peak with the Pirates where he finished third, first, third and fifth in National League MVP voting from 2012 to 2015. His averages across the board over that span: .313 batting average, 35 doubles, 25 homers, 90 RBIs, .926 OPS.
Over the last three seasons, McCutchen's numbers, while still quite good, are not as gaudy. He has averaged .263, 29 doubles, 24 homers and a .802 OPS. During that time, he was traded twice (to the Giants and then the Yankees) and has moved off center field. The Phillies believe that McCutchen, who turned 32 in October, still has big years in front of him. McCutchen is confident that he does.
"I am the type of guy who doesn't settle for where I'm at," he said. "I understand the past few years haven't been what I wanted them to be and they haven't been what people expected them to be. And I understand people have an expectation because of something you've done previously. So when you don't meet those expectations that people have, you'll get the backlash, you may get the, ‘You're not good,' and, ‘He's in decline,' and I get all that.
"But for me, personally, pushing that to the side, I do realize that I can be better and that I'm going to be better. I'm working to make the adjustments needed to be a better player.
"So I'm looking to come in here and bring the old me back. I know it's there. I don't accept what I've done. I'm looking forward to coming back and showing what I'm capable of doing and doing great things here."
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