Posted on June 4, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Philadelphia Phillies have lost a big part of their team for the remainder of the 2019 season. On Tuesday, the club announced that outfielder Andrew McCutchen has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. The injury definitively ends his season, although McCutchen is hoping to be ready for opening day next season.
McCutchen suffered the injury on Monday when he got caught in a rundown. The Phillies initially hoped that he had just sprained the knee. McCutchen himself was confident after Monday’s game that it was not an ACL tear. However, an MRI performed Tuesday indicated otherwise and effectively ended his 2019 season.
“It’s a sucky dynamic,” McCutchen told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s not the news I wanted to hear.”
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Over the winter, McCutchen signed a three-year deal with the Phillies. Despite being past his prime, he quickly became an important part of the team. His 2019 season has ended with him hitting .256 with an OPS of .834. Along with Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, he’s the only Philadelphia regular with an OPS of .800 this season.
Perhaps more importantly, McCutchen had recently made the switch from left field to center field to accommodate the absence of Odubel Herrera. Herrera is currently on administrative leave following a domestic violence arrest last month. Hours before McCutchen’s injury, Major League Baseball extended Herrera’s leave until June 17, which is when he’s scheduled to be arraigned in court. It’s possible that Herrera could miss even more time, as MLB could levy a punishment beyond the time he’s currently missing.
The injury to McCutchen also came almost immediately after the Phillies acquired Jay Bruce in a trade from the Mariners. Bruce was added in part to accommodate McCutchen’s move to center field and add depth to the Philadelphia outfield. The Phillies must now work to replace McCutchen for the rest of the season.
In the immediate future, Adam Haseley will be McCutchen’s replacement. Haseley was a first round pick in 2017 and made his big league debut Tuesday night roughly two years later. He’s rated as the no. 3 prospect in Philadelphia’s farm system, according to MLB.com. However, his promotion to the big leagues comes less than a week after he was promoted from double-A to triple-A. While he was off to a strong start offensively this year, hitting .275 with an OPS of .824 between the two levels, only time will tell if the Phillies are rushing him to the majors.
Obviously, the Phillies are hoping Herrera’s off-field issues will be resolved later this month so he can resume his duties in center field. The team is also waiting for Roman Quinn to return from an oblique injury. Until then, utility man Scott Kingery will help Haseley with some of the duties in center field. Of course, both Herrera and Quinn have struggled offensively, so neither may be an adequate replacement for McCutchen in center field.
Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine the Phillies not being negatively impacted by the loss of McCutchen. They have a few internal options to replace him, and the recent addition of Bruce should help as well. However, when you consider that the Phillies began Tuesday on a five-game losing streak and with a half-game lead atop the NL East, losing McCutchen for the rest of the season could be a massive blow and a flashpoint for Philadelphia’s season.