Andrew McCutchen Rumors

Huntington “Optimistic” About McCutchen Extension

Talks about a long-term contract extension between the Pirates and Andrew McCutchen didn't progress much this summer, but GM Neal Huntington told fans that he's "optimistic" about reaching an agreement with the star outfielder at PirateFest yesterday, reports Bill Brink of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"When you enter a negotiation, you're at X, the player's at Z and you work awfully hard to try to find Y," said Huntington. "There has to be a compromise, there has to be a shared risk on both sides."

Back in May we heard that the team wants at least five years in a McCutchen extension, meaning they want to buy out at least one year of free agency. The 25-year-old is a .276/.365/.458 career hitter in his two-plus big league seasons, which is comparable to the .272/.350/.485 line Justin Upton owned when he signed his six-year, $52.25MM deal prior to the 2010 season. A contract along those lines is reasonable for McCutchen, a first-time All-Star in 2011.

Quick Hits: Beltran, Vizquel, Pirates, Gio

Happy birthday to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who turns 33 on December 17.  Utley is looking to rebound from his most disappointing full season in the majors, as he posted just a .769 OPS and didn't play until May 23 due to an unusual knee injury.

Some news from around baseball as we head into the weekend…

Pirates May Consider Offers For Andrew McCutchen

7:03pm: A high-ranking Pirates person told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the team hasn't entertained offers for McCutchen to this point and has no plans to do so. Kovacevic's piece strongly suggests McCutchen is staying in Pittsburgh.

5:20pm: Andrew McCutchen is not untouchable, but he's about as close as it gets. The Pirates will at least listen to offers for the center fielder, though they would have to be blown away to move him, according to's Keith Law.

The Pirates discussed a potential extension with McCutchen earlier in the year, though talks slowed later in the summer. McCutchen posted a .259/.364/.456 line in 678 plate appearances this past season, setting a career high with 23 home runs. The 25-year-old made his first All-Star team, posting an OPS over .800 for the third time in as many big league seasons.

Justin Upton may be the best comparable for McCutchen, both in terms of trade value and contract discussions. The Diamondbacks listened to offers for the right fielder last offseason, ultimately holding on and enjoying MVP-caliber production. Upton signed a six-year, $51.25MM contract in 2010 that could serve as a model for the Pirates. McCutchen narrowly missed super two status this offseason and is under team control through 2015.

NL Central Rumors: Pujols, McCutchen, Fielder

The division has been clinched, but the NL Central games today are still very much worth monitoring. The Brewers are a game up on the Diamondbacks in the race for first-round homefield, while the Cardinals need to win today's rubber match against the Cubs to stay on the Braves' heels in the Wild Card race. Here are the rest of today's items of interest out of the NL Central:

  • Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that today's contest could be Albert Pujols' last home game as a Cardinal. Strauss goes on to preview the upcoming Pujols negotiations, noting that the Cards aren't currently inclined to top the nine years and annual figure of $22-$22.5MM they offered last winter.
  • Strauss goes on to say that the Cardinals are "wary of bidding against themselves," meaning they likely wouldn't increase last year's offer until they have a better idea of their competition for Pujols.
  • Extension talks will resume between the Pirates and Andrew McCutchen this winter, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Biertempfel hears from team and industry sources that the Pirates will likely offer a six-year deal with a club option.
  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times ranks the best of the upcoming free agent class, with the NL Central duo of Pujols and Prince Fielder occupying two of the top three spots.

Quick Hits: McCutchen, Upton, Cameron

15 years ago today, the Mariners' acquisition of third baseman Dave Hollins was completed when they sent a 20-year-old first baseman named David Ortiz Arias to the Twins.  Arias had just hit .322/.390/.511 for the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  By the following year Ortiz had dropped the Arias in his name and earned a September call-up.  Ortiz posted a .266/.348/.461 line in 455 games spanning 1997-2002 with Minnesota, battling wrist and knee injuries.  After the '02 season the Blue Jays reportedly expressed interest in Ortiz, but ultimately the Twins non-tendered him in lieu of a raise from his $950K salary.  New Red Sox GM Theo Epstein signed Big Papi for $1.25MM, and the rest is history.  Today's links…

  • The Pirates are far apart in contract talks with Andrew McCutchen, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden.  Bowden feels that a six-year deal in the $47-49MM range, plus a club option, would be a fair compromise.  In my opinion, there's a good case to be made for a McCutchen contract to exceed the $51.25MM Justin Upton received over six years in March of 2010.  McCutchen has played in over 100 more games than Upton had at that point, their offensive lines are very similar, and McCutchen plays center field.
  • ESPN's Keith Law discusses MLB's European presence and what must be done for further growth.
  • Answering a question from Craig Heist of WTOP about playing in Washington, Rays center fielder B.J. Upton said he'd love to remain in Tampa Bay but otherwise would like to play for the Nationals with old friend Ryan Zimmerman.  You can follow Craig on Twitter here;'s Bill Ladson transcribed the discussion.  Upton is heading into his last arbitration year and projects for a $7MM salary.
  •'s Jonathan Mayo names 20 young, next generation GM candidates.  To check out MLBTR's top 20 plus honorable mentions, click here.
  • Mike Cameron was consistently one of the best players in baseball when he was on the field, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.
  • The Orioles will try Chris Davis at third base for the rest of the season, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  The 25-year-old was a key piece of the July 30th Koji Uehara trade with Texas.  With Mark Reynolds getting comfortable at first base, it's conceivable that the Orioles will sit out the corner infielder bidding this winter.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports chronicles how Joey Gathright went from being managed by Jose Canseco as a member of the independent league Yuma Scorpions to a minor league deal with the Red Sox.

NL Central Links: McCutchen, Cubs, Ramirez, Crane

After Yovani Gallardo struck out ten Cubs en route to another Milwaukee victory, the club's division lead reached double digits for the first time this season, with the Cardinals now 10.5 games back. The Brewers will send Zack Greinke to the hill today as they look to sweep the Cubs and continue chipping away at their magic number (19). Let's check out the rest of the morning's updates from the NL Central….

NL Central Notes: Wandy, Tabata, McCutchen

The latest from around the NL Central…

NL Central Notes: McCutchen, Astros, Berkman

Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel reports that MLB has suspended Brewers right-hander Mark Rogers 25 games for a second positive test for a stimulant in violation of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rogers' season was already over due to carpal tunnel syndrome, however. Here's the latest from baseball's only six-team division. ..

Pirates Notes: McCutchen, Catching Help

Let's check out a handful of Pirates-related links, as Kevin Correia and the Bucs look to get back to .500 today against the Mets….

  • Extension talks between Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates haven't progressed recently, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. According to Kovacevic, both sides appear open to a deal, and an offer that buys out a year or two of the outfielder's free agent years may still be on the table. Money is a separator, however.
  • We heard yesterday that teams are hoping to take advantage of the Pirates' lack of backstop depth by making Pittsburgh overpay to acquire a catcher. Manager Clint Hurdle discussed this dilemma with Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Everybody knows the situation we're in. So, when you ask, we're getting some sticker shock…. It's the nature of the industry, like the shark that smells blood."
  • More from Hurdle on the team's need for catching help: "I know [GM Neal Huntington is] working overtime, I'm making calls, everyone's trying to check on who's available. We remain guardedly optimistic. We don't want to sacrifice the future for a fit right now, but the realism of the fit is pretty sincere…. I'm looking at how we are going to cover the next 35 to 40 games."
  • Despite the Pirates' pitching woes over the last two decades, there are reasons to be optimistic about the arms in the organization, writes Bob Cohn of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Pirates Notes: McCutchen, Heredia, Ascanio

The Pirates have won just one of Paul Maholm's eight starts this year, but the left-hander and his 3.60 ERA aren't to blame. Pittsburgh has averaged 1.5 runs per game with Maholm on the hill, including last night's shutout at the hands of the Dodgers. Here's the latest on the Pirates…

  • Jim Bowden of explains that he believes the Pirates should move now to lock Andrew McCutchen long term. Since McCutchen hasn't fully realized his potential, the Pirates could save on an extension and pay him Justin Upton money ($51.25MMM) instead of Carlos Gonzalez money ($80MM). Plus, it would be a positive for fans and other players, Bowden argues. The Pirates have discussed a long-term deal with their center fielder and hope to sign him for five years or more.
  • Tim Dierkes says he expects a six-year deal for McCutchen, who probably won't have to settle for less than $52MM.
  • Pirates prospect Luis Heredia is just 16 years old, but he looks closer to 20, according to Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. The right-hander retired rehabbing catcher Carlos Ruiz in extended Spring Training, much to the delight of his mother.
  • John Grupp of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review chronicles Jose Ascanio's long path back to the Pirates roster. The right-hander, who was acquired as part of the 2009 Tom Gorzelanny trade, is back in Pittsburgh after a two-year absence.