We got "breaking news" from the Pirates on Super Bowl Sunday: Andrew McCutchen will play RF, Starling Marte will play CF and Gregory Polanco will play LF in the 2017 season.
It’s hard to praise Manager Clint Hurdle for doing what’s right, because it’s long overdue.
McCutchen was minus-28 in defensive runs saved last year, making him the worst CF in MLB.
But perhaps it’s best to make big changes at the start of a new season.
A strong arm is preferred in RF, but PNC Park is small in that part of the outfield, negating McCutchen’s weak hose for half the games. Those same close confines will accommodate McCutchen’s preference for playing deep. On the road, Cutch’s inefficiencies will be more prevalent.
But Marte is clearly the best candidate to play CF, and Polanco’s range is preferable in PNC Park’s roomy LF.
McCutchen tweeted a picture of Roberto Clemente in RF. Not hardly, junior. But, if it makes you feel better about being demoted…
BTW, shuffling the outfield will not make the Pirates’ starting rotation any better. But if McCutchen, Marte and Polanco all maximize their defensive abilities at their new positions, it could make the difference between 77 and 78 wins. Beat 'em, Bucs!