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Andrew McCutchen is moving off center field

Monday morning’s Say Hey, Baseball includes a move for Andrew McCutchen, a new home for Jason Hammel, and another smart move for the Indians.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

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For the last half-decade, Andrew McCutchen has been unaminously mentioned as one of the best all-around players in all of baseball. He's won an MVP, finished in the top-five three other times, and has made five All-Star Games. Obviously, his offensive prowess is a huge part of that reputation, but his defense in center field has played a big role as well. For the last eight years, he's been one of the better center fielders in the game. Last year, he started showing signs of decline in both phases of the game. Now, the team has decided it's time for him to pass the torch in center field

Over the weekend, it came out that the Pirates are planning to play Starling Marte in McCutchen's center field. It's not a move that's likely to bring much controversy -- McCutchen's given us little reason to believe he'd make this into a big deal -- but it's jarring in the context of the league over the last few years. Seeing McCutchen in a corner spot just won't feel right. On the other hand, Marte is plenty athletic to handle the position, and has done well in left field since coming up. It makes sense that he'll get this chance. Plus, even with their new alignment the great McCutchen/Marte/Gregory Polanco outfield will live on.

And yet, this could be the beginning of the end of a more important era. Throughout this offseason, there were rumors of McCutchen trade talks with teams around the league. Pittsburgh never found a deal with which they were comfortable, but perhaps this is a chance to give teams a look at the star in a more favorable position. McCutchen leaving center field is weird enough, so hopefully this doesn't mean he'll be leaving Pittsburgh soon as well.