Andrew McCutchen officially became a Yankee at about 11:40 a.m. on Friday when the former National League MVP was acquired from the Giants for two prospects.
Then McCutchen really became a Yankee when he shaved off the beard he’s been sporting for the past 10 years.
McCutchen, who will report to the Bronx on Saturday and take over as the rightfield replacement for the injured Aaron Judge, announced his own de-bearding on Twitter on Friday afternoon.
“Now, I’m ready to throw the pinstripes on and get to work. @Yankees let’s go!” McCutchen (@theCUTCH22) wrote on his verified Twitter account.
A minute later, he added: “Just gonna take me a sec to get used to my freshly shaved face. Other than that . . . let’s go!”
The Yankees didn’t get McCutchen for his abilities with a razor. They got him for his abilities with the bat and for his reputation as an unparalleled professional.
“We’re getting a really good player,” manager Aaron Boone said before the Yankees hosted the Tigers on Friday night. “Just looking forward to him getting here tomorrow and hopefully putting him in the lineup and seeing him help us. I think his reputation precedes him. This is as high a character person as we have in the game.”
The Yankees gave up a pair of minor-leaguers (infielder Abiatal Avelino and righthander Juan De Paula) for McCutchen, 31. They also got back cash from the Giants to offset what is left on McCutchen’s $14.75-million contract. Avelino, 23, hit .287 with 15 homers and 66 RBIs in Double-A and Triple-A. De Paula, 20, went 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA with short-season Class A Staten Island.
McCutchen will be a free agent after the season. He was traded after the non-waiver trade deadline because he passed unclaimed through waivers and was available to be dealt to any team. Because the Yankees acquired him before Sept. 1, McCutchen is available for a potential postseason roster.
But first the Yankees need McCutchen for the here and now. Judge has been out since July 27 with a broken wrist and has not yet swung a bat. With Giancarlo Stanton limited by a tight hamstring, the Yankees have used infielder Neil Walker and light-hitting outfielder Shane Robinson in right for the most part.
McCutchen’s arrival will allow Stanton to stay at the DH spot until he’s fully healed. The Yankees haven’t given up on Judge returning in September, but now there’s less urgency.
McCutchen spent his first nine seasons with the Pirates and won the MVP award in 2013, when he hit .317 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs. The five-time All-Star was traded to San Francisco after last season and hit .255 with 15 homers and 55 RBIs in 130 games for the Giants.
McCutchen’s .772 OPS with the Giants is the second-worst of his career, but Walker said the trade should bring out the best in his former minor- and major-league teammate in the Pittsburgh organization.
“I talked to him this morning,” said Walker, who started in rightfield on Friday night in what he probably hopes will be his final appearance at the position. “He’s super-excited.”
Yanks get Hechavarria.The Yankees weren’t done after acquiring McCutchen. Late Friday night, they obtained shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and cash from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
Hechavarria, 29, is batting .253 with four homers and 29 RBIs with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. He is considered a slick-fielding shortstop.
The Yankees have been using Gleyber Torres at short since Didi Gregorius went on the disabled list with a bruised heel.
Because Hechavarria was acquired before Sept. 1, he — like McCutchen — will be eligible for the postseason roster.