Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen voiced his desire to spend his entire career in Pittsburgh yesterday, and on Tuesday general manager Neal Huntington told ESPN’s Jayson Stark that the Bucs would explore an extension for McCutchen at the “appropriate time,” though he declined to delve into specifics. Huntington explained that the Pirates would love to retain McCutchen for “an awfully long time,” though he noted that the remaining three years on McCutchen’s deal is a lengthy period of time in its own right. “At the same time, we do want to honor his interest,” the GM told Stark. “And at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way, we will look to see if there is a common financial ground that allows us to build a championship team around a given player. … Any team can basically afford any player. It’s just how do you afford championship-caliber players around that one player.”
Some more notes from around the Senior Circuit…
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich declined to put a timeline on the Rockies’ path back to contention when meeting with reporters today, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “Why limit ourselves?” Bridich asked rhetorically. “So if I were to come out and say something that’s pleasing to the ear of you, or a fan here or a fan there, and I say, ‘We’re not going to win for X.’ So what? What’s the point of doing that? It’s about people. It’s about process. … Why say something where it’s got to happen X number of months and years in the future, where really a lot of good things can happen this year?” The Rockies have certainly acted as if they believe they can win in 2016 this winter, and Bridich’s comments seem to imply they indeed hold that belief, even if it’s not necessarily an expectation.
- Brandon Morrow tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he probably could’ve secured a big league deal elsewhere this winter, as he had “soft offers” of Major League deals from other clubs, but he wanted to remain with the Padres and “wasn’t afraid” to take a minor league deal with an invite to camp. Morrow didn’t specify exactly what he meant with that explanation — verbal willingness by other teams to explore big league deals, perhaps — but he went on to explain to Lin that he thinks highly of San Diego’s training staff, team doctors and strength coaches. He also voiced an oft-overlooked aspect of remaining in one place (or in securing a multi-year deal): “I didn’t want to bounce around, I guess. It’s just the continuity; the doctors knew me since I was injured, obviously. … Going to a new spot, they’d only know what you tell them instead of having firsthand knowledge.” It’s easy to suggest that players should be comfortable on one-year deals, though Morrow’s comments serve as a reminder that there are benefits to the stability of remaining in one place.
- Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall held court with the media on Tuesday and explained that the deferred money included in Zack Greinke’s stunning six-year contract isn’t the start of any sort of trend, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “It’s not something that we’re going to start doing now,” said Hall of deferring money,” “but in this case we felt we needed to really bite the bullet on this one, with that window we talk about and our big glaring hole.” As Piecoro notes and as Hall implies in his later comments, the D-backs have previously run into problems by offering too many deferred payments and don’t want to start down that road once again.
- The hiring of manager Don Mattingly already has Marlins players buzzing about the upcoming season, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Mattingly held a closed-doors meeting with the team before the first full workout of Spring Training, and the new skipper wasted little time in getting his players on his side. “I went out to practice [Tuesday] like I wanted to eat the world,” Jose Fernandez told Spencer. Fellow right-hander Tom Koehler said that Mattingly’s address gave him “chills.” Mattingly spoke to Spencer after the speech and discussed the upcoming season, noting that he believes payroll to be a largely overblown component of successful teams, highlighting the Royals’ back-to-back World Series appearances.