Well, the Bucs certainly aren't making any free agents wealthy. Maybe it's time that they made a couple of their home-grown players sweat the Bush tax cuts. For example, have you ever wondered what it will take to get Andrew McCutchen signed long term? Here's a couple of recent examples of contracts for players of similar age and talent:
-- The Reds just inked Jay Bruce to a six-year, $51M deal that will keep him in Cincy through 2016. He gets a $13M option in 2017 with a $1M buyout, a partial no-trade clause and the chance to earn more money with award bonuses.
The 23 year old batted .281/.353/.493 with 25 homers as Cincinnati's everyday right fielder in 2010.
-- D-Back Justin Upton's six-year, $51.25M deal will keep him in Arizona for all of his arbitration seasons and his first two years of free agency. The 23 year old signed the deal in March after a 2009 line of .300/26/86. He remains under team control through 2015, with very limited (4 teams) no-trade protection and no option year.
-- The 162-game averages for the three players, from Baseball Reference:
Bruce (3 years) .257/.327/.474 25-2B, 31-HR, 82-RBI, 80-RS, 5-SB
Upton (4 years) .272/.352/.471 32-2B, 23-HR, 80-RBI, 87-RS, 16-SB
McCutch (2 years) .286/.365/.459 38-2B, 17-HR, 68-RBI, 104-RS, 34-SB
McCutchen is 24 (he has an October birthday), and has a good chance of hitting his Super 2 arbitration status after 2011. A six-year deal after next season will keep him under Pirate control until 2017, and the FO have the Bruce and Upton contracts to serve as guides.
Will the Pirates step up to the plate for McCutch?