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Pirates, Andrew McCutchen agree to six-year, $51.5 million contract

Mar 5, 2012, 1:22 AM EDT

Andrew McCutchen Getty Images

It was a long time coming, but Andrew McCutchen finally got the Pirates to beat the Justin Upton and Jay Bruce deals. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the two sides have agreed to a six-year, $51.5 million contract that will take care of all of the outfielder’s arbitration seasons and his first two years of free agency.

The deal includes a $14.75 million club option for 2018.

McCutchen, 25, made his first All-Star team last year, though he faded badly in the second half. He ended up hitting .259/.364/.456 with 23 homers and 89 RBI in 572 at-bats. The .820 OPS was right in between his marks from his rookie season in 2009 (.836) and his sophomore campaign in 2010 (.814).

McCutchen and the Pirates had been trying to come to terms on a deal since last summer, with McCutchen using the previous six-year deals signed by Upton ($51.25 million) and Bruce ($51 million) as a guideline. The Pirates were hoping to do something in the $40 million range, and when McCutchen failed to relent, there was even some talk that they could trade him.

McCutchen, Upton and Bruce were all chosen in the first-round of the 2005 draft, and though Upton is pretty clearly the biggest star in the group, he signed his deal before the 2010 season, back when he was less established. Bruce signed his with the Reds one years ago.

While this is more than the Pirates wanted to spend, it was a necessary deal for the team. McCutchen isn’t a superstar, but he plays a key position pretty well and he is a fan favorite. Had the Pirates opted to trade him rather than build around him, it would have furthered the idea that they have no intention of trying to compete. Now they have their best player tied up for a very long time.

  1. redguy12588 - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    He’s not a Superstar? He’s 25 years old and one of the top 3 CF in the game and had a 6 WAR last season.

    • clankbot - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:27 AM

      While his talent is certainly deserving, this is also the guy who didn’t get on the All-Star team until Ryan Braun bailed. Unfortunately, he’s not in the shiniest market and doesn’t get the national exposure he’s entitled. Fortunate the for Pirates, though. Hell of a deal.

    • lardin - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      Being a great player and being a superstar dont have to go together.

  2. skerney - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    Andrew McCutchen is the second or third best center fielder in baseball.

  3. paperlions - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    If McCutchen got to play 1/2 his games in Arizona, his raw stats likely would look similar to Upton’s (who has nearly a 300 pt home/road split in his OPS).

  4. johnnyb1976 - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    This makes him WAY more valuable when the pirates trade him in a couple of seasons…. Affordable contract with control for multiple seasons, c’mon pirate fans you know that’s what they are gonna do with him.

    • wiley16350 - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      This is a new ownership and things have been different since they have taken control. I am starting to be optimistic that the new regime actually wants to win and not just make money.

  5. rambodiaz - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Joy. Great, great joy at this news.

  6. buffalomafia - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Salute’ to the Pirates! Finally!

    Now add a couple more pieces to the team & you can finally contend again!

  7. toegoat - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    The Nuttings are not committed to winning folks… it won’t be long until cutch ends up in pin stripes. How can u be optimistic when they just picked up A.J.Burnett for $13M this season??? It’s gonna be another long summer in the Burgh.

    • foreverchipper10 - Mar 5, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      Burnett is there for two years so halve that salary.

  8. toegoat - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    20 yrs of sub-.500 teams, I mean cmon we are not asking for the world series but can we at least finish NEAR .500 with at least a shot @ the playoffs? Nope. BTW seven springs looks better than ever these days.

  9. buffalomafia - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    @toegoat I though Mclutch was going to be in Pinstrips this summer? I guess not!

  10. toegoat - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Yea I didn’t say this summer but eventually. It doesn’t matter anyway they can’t win with or without him. Too many holes in other areas, u can’t seriously tell me u think they will win anything this yr. They been rebuilding for 20 freaking yrs now, must be one hell of a team they are waiting to unveil.

  11. APBA Guy - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Good deal for both parties. $ 50M when you’re 25 is what we call here in Silicon Valley “escape velocity” money, meaning it’s enough to where the mundane daily wants and needs no longer affect you. And he’ll still be in line for another payday at 31, or an extension at 29 or 30 if he’s still playing at a high level.

  12. buffalomafia - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    @toegoat I know alot of people from Pitt are mad @ Pirates ownership cause he doesn’t want to win!

    Let me own them & you can be my GM?

    Pirates will win then! Just sayin…

  13. toegoat - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Lol I’m not saying I want to be gm(I’m def not qualified for that) and I’m sure there are things that go on behind the scenes we do not get to see but what we do get to see is sub .500 EVERY year on the field. And even if u and I were to take over what’s the worst that would happen, we would be under .500 and probably lose 100 which is about par for the team now… just saying

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