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Details of Andrew McCutchen’s $51.5 million extension

Mar 5, 2012, 3:03 PM EDT

mccutchen swinging getty Getty Images

Late last night Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates announced a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension and now Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has the year-by-year breakdown:

2012: $0.5 million, plus $1.25 million signing bonus
2013: $4.5 million
2014: $7.25 million
2015: $10 million
2016: $13 million
2017: $14 million
2018: $14.75 million option or $1 million buyout

The extension pre-pays for McCutchen’s three arbitration-eligible seasons and buys out his first two years of free agency while giving the Pirates a $14.75 million option for his third year of free agency in 2018, when he’ll be 31 years old. If McCutchen stays healthy and his production doesn’t decline the Pirates will end up with quite a bargain, but snagging $51.5 million in guaranteed money at age 24 is pretty tough to turn down when he’s made “only” $1 million or so thus far.

As our own Matthew Pouliot pointed out last night McCutchen’s six-year deal is nearly identical to six-year deals signed previously by Jay Bruce and Justin Upton, and all three outfielders were first-round picks in the 2005 draft.

  1. jason1214 - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Heavily backloaded, good deal for the Pirates, right about the time it gets expensive, they’ll trade him.

    • florida76 - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM

      Too early to speculate what might happen in the future, this was a much a statement deal as much as anything. A young, talented player deciding to stay in Pittsburgh, and the organization stepping forward when it counted, instead of letting this issue linger. People unfamiliar with the Bucs, assumed Cutch would be dealt, and not extended this way. Good message sent to the fans, and the rest of MLB. Overall, a solid offseason for the Pirates.

      • jason1214 - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM

        For the Pirates sake, I hope they don’t but I find it very curious how backloaded it is.

  2. sfbookreviews - Mar 6, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    I believe it’s so backloaded because it’s going to be a few years before the top prospects arrive in Pittsburgh. The thinking is, by then, we may be able to field an actually competitive team. Which would result in higher attendance. Which would result in higher revenue. Which would give the Bucs the extra cash to pay McCutchen (while those young guys are making near league minimum).

    If the team continues to stink, the Pirates can trade him instead, having paid the lesser amounts in the earlier years and leaving someone else on the hook for the last years.

    I can’t say for sure that’s the reason, but it makes perfect sense to me. Plus the fact that most contracts like this have similar structures (Upton for example has salaries of $4.25 million, $6.75M, $9.75M, $14.25M and $14.5M).

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