Monday, March 5, 2012

McCutch Makes His Deal

The Pirates and Andrew McCutchen, 25, struck a six-year deal that will carry the All-Star centerfielder through his arbitration and first two free agency years, with an option for 2018 according to Mike Sanserino and Bill Brink of the Post Gazette. All that's left is the physical.

The template for a deal has been out there for a couple of seasons, using Justin Upton and Jay Bruce contracts as models, as they eventually did.

Upton's 2010 contract was signed for 6 years/$51.25M, while Bruce's 2011 deal was inked for 6 years/$51M with a $13M option year. All three players signed after their third year and strong WAR seasons - Uptons' was 4.8 in '09, Bruce's 4.6 in '10, and McCutch's 5.5 in '11. All three players were selected as Top Twelve picks in the 2005 draft.

While there are few details out yet, the basic McCutch agreement covers six years, including this coming one, and is worth $51.5M with a team option for $14.75M in 2018. That breaks down to an average of $8.583M/season. He'll start with $500K this year, plus $1.25M in signing bonus money per the Trib's Rob Biertempfel.

(EDIT: Sanserino tweeted the terms: 2012: $1.25M bonus + $500k 2013: $4.5M 2014: $7.25M 2015: $10M 2016: $13M 2017: $14M 2018: 1M buyout or $14.75M club option.)

The Bucs got a bit of a break, as McCutchen's agent, Steve Hammond, let the Pirates slide on inflation (not the US rate, but its MLB counterpart) and didn't press Cutch's superior consistency (In three seasons, McCutchen has compiled 12.4 WAR. In five, Upton has 11.5 and Bruce, in four years, 6.3). We thought that McCutch would make a case for $55M or better.

Still, the contract is the second biggest in team history, topped on by Jason Kendall's 6 year/$60M deal from 2002.

So both sides should be happy, and the team's best player is locked up for the foreseeable future, with Neil Walker being next in line. We'll say this for the FO - they've made an effort this year to solidify the MLB team, a different and welcome approach. Let's hope the stability pays some dividends in the next season or two.

1 comment:

WilliamJPellas said...

Wow. I must say I did not see this one coming, not at all. They've done McCutchen's deal by the book and it is market appropriate, but it bears repeating that while he might be a superb talent, to this point he's been a "merely good" player. Know what I mean? You hate to sort-of rip a guy for being a legitimately good major leaguer---which McCutchen certainly is---but do you want merely good players as cornerstones who are using up most of your available cash, or do you want players who are better than that?

Which is to say that while Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are legitimately good, I think they are half a notch below the comparable tandem in Minnesota, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. It will be interesting to see how far our two take us versus how far J&J take the Twins.