Andrew McCutchen Rumors

Pirates Notes: Walker, McCutchen, Alvarez

The Pirates put a finishing touch on their offseason yesterday, agreeing to terms with Andrew McCutchen on a six year, $51.5MM contract extension. Here's the latest on the Pirates, starting with some reactions to the McCutchen deal…

  • Neil Walker told Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Pittsburgh is lucky to have McCutchen under long-term control (all Twitter links). Walker, an extension candidate himself, told Sanserino that he'd also like to sign a long-term deal with the Pirates. So far extension talks haven’t gone very far, according to Walker.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs agrees with Walker, writing that Pirates fans should "dance in the streets" to celebrate the contract that will keep McCutchen in Pittsburgh for his prime.
  • Nate McLouth and Charlie Morton were also pleased to see the deal completed, MLB.com's Tom Singer writes.
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the yearly breakdown of McCutchen's contract (Twitter link).
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney told Joe Giardina of Pittsburgh Sports Report that the Pirates are having trouble luring free agents to Pittsburgh. "They seem to be picking from just a different menu than some of the other teams," Olney said. 
  • Olney added that Pedro Alvarez is the most important player to the 2012 Pirates since he could break out into a star or continue to struggle.

NL Central Links: Marshall, McCutchen, Francis

The Reds finalized a three-year, $16.5MM contract extension with Sean Marshall earlier today, so now let's check in on the latest from the NL Central…

  • Marshall will earn $4.5MM in 2013, $5.5MM in 2014, and $6.5MM in 2015 according to the AP (via John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer on Twitter). The southpaw can earn $1MM more per year if he closes for the Reds.
  • “We’re obviously very excited about it,” said Reds GM Walt Jocketty to reporters (including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon) about Marshall's deal. “When we made the trade for him, we made it intending to extend him. We felt confident we would do that. We wanted to approach it sooner than later.”
  • The Pirates are still willing to work out a long-term extension with Andrew McCutchen, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. McCutchen's camp is looking for something close to the $51MM given to Justin Upton while the club is coming in around $10MM below that.
  • Jeff Francis told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that his final decision came between the Reds and Mets (Twitter link). The southpaw signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati last month.
  • "We saw this coming years ago," said Pirates team president Frank Coonelly to Biertempfel when asked about the new draft spending restrictions. "We pushed money up to make sure we'd be taking advantage of opportunities we had last year and the year before."

Quick Hits: Zimmerman, McCutchen, Cespedes, Sano

MLB has announced that Tony La Russa will manage the NL team during the All-Star Game in 2012, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). La Russa retired from managing earlier this offseason, but he'll continue the tradition of the pennant winning managers from the prior year managing the two All-Star clubs. Here's the latest from around the league…

  • Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports that Ryan Zimmerman is open to a creative contract extension that would allow the Nationals to build a strong team around him. "We want to do a deal so it helps me and the team at the same time, so they can go out and sign guys like Prince Fielder or other free agents," said Zimmerman. Fielder is off the table now, and the Nats know what it'll take to sign their star third baseman long-term.
  • "Never say never," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington to Jeff Nelson and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio when asked about a potential Andrew McCutchen trade. "If someone wants to back up the truck and give us one of those organization-altering deals, it's something that we'd have to listen to…It would have to be a dramatic overpay on the part of the other club."
  • The Nationals consider Yoenis Cespedes a corner outfielder or even a first baseman, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Earlier today we learned that Cespedes has gained residency in the Dominican Republic, and now awaits MLB's approval to become a free agent.
  • The Indians are "making the necessary moves to get [Robert Hernandez Heredia] to the United States," reports the AP (via ESPN). Heredia, better known as Fausto Carmona, faces a judicial process in the Dominican Republic after lying about his identity.
  • Twins top prospect Miguel Sano has changed representation according to SI.com's Melissa Segura (on Twitter). He is now with SFX agent Troy Caradonna.


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 ESPN.com'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; MLB.com's Bill Ladson transcribed the discussion.  Upton is heading into his last arbitration year and projects for a $7MM salary.
  • MLB.com'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…