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Andrew McCutchen Rumors
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. ..
- The Pirates are working on a long-term extension for Neil Walker after locking up Jose Tabata, but Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that talks about a deal for Andrew McCutchen have stalled. Both sides are willing to continue negotiations, but they haven't made any progress in weeks.
- The Astros put both Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers on waivers recently, and SI.com's Jon Heyman says he doesn't expect either player to be claimed (Twitter links). Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe disagrees though, saying claims should be made on both pitchers (Twitter link).
- "At this stage of my career, it's safe to say that if I'm not thrilled with the opportunities out there for me after this season, this would be it," said Lance Berkman of the Cardinals to Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, hinting at retirement. "I'd love to come back but I also recognize they have some big decisions to make with some pretty big guys. Right now, I'm not assuming anything."
- Roger Hensley of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked various scribes if they believe Tony LaRussa will come back to manage the Cardinals next season, and got mixed answers.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote about Francisco Rodriguez and the seamless transition he's made from Mets closer to Brewers setup man.
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.
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 ESPN.com 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.
The Pirates are talking to center fielder Andrew McCutchen about an extension, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, and they're insisting on at least a five-year deal. That's another way of saying they want to buy out at least one free agent year, which comes as no surprise. As noted in our agency database, McCutchen is represented by Steve Hammond of Aegis Sports Management.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported eight days ago that the two sides are in talks but no agreement was imminent. I mentioned at that time that I expect a six-year term, and I feel that McCutchen deserves $52MM or more based on comparable contracts.
- The Reds signed left-handed reliever James Adkins and catcher James Skelton to minor league deals, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). Adkins, 25, has a 4.76 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in parts of five minor league seasons. Skelton, also 25, has a .267/.396/.368 line in parts of seven minor league seasons.
- The Reds also activated Fred Lewis from the disabled list and optioned Jeremy Hermida to Triple-A, according to the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald).
- The father of Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman is involved with a group that has interest in buying the Astros, but Friedman says those dealings don’t impact his job in Tampa Bay, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- Andrew McCutchen left no doubt that he wants to continue playing for the Pirates when speaking to Jared Macdonald of The Good Point. "I plan on being here, that's the mindset. This is where I want to be, " he said. "I don't want to go anywhere, and I'm going to be here for as long as they want me to be here." The Pirates are discussing an extension with McCutchen, though no agreement appears imminent.
The Pirates are discussing a long-term contract extension with center fielder Andrew McCutchen, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kovacevic adds that "there is no sign that an agreement is imminent."
Talking to Kovacevic, McCutchen gushed about Pittsburgh and his willingness to remain with the Pirates for his entire career. McCutchen, who is represented by Steve Hammond of Aegis Sports Management, seeks a deal that "reflects potential future performance," in Kovacevic's words.
McCutchen, 24, owns a career line of .281/.362/.454 at the moment in 1,264 plate appearances. He's a couple weeks away from reaching two years of service time. He'll be at two years and 123 days of service after the season, which would have resulted in Super Two status using last year's cutoff. However, if CAA's early prediction of a 2.146 cutoff is anywhere close to accurate, McCutchen will not be a Super Two player. In that case he would be arbitration eligible after the 2012, '13, and '14 seasons. Regardless, he's eligible for free agency after the '15 season.
MLBTR's Luke Adams discussed McCutchen's extension candidacy in December, noting comparables Justin Upton and Jay Bruce. Since then another big name outfielder was extended in Carlos Gonzalez. Upton is the best comparable – he was extended between two and three years of service time and is not a Super Two. Bruce's deal would match up if you were to drop the fourth arbitration year; one other difference is that his included a club option on a third free agent season. CarGo's deal, of course, is the gold standard for those in McCutchen's service class. To line up Gonzalez's contract with Upton's, we could lop off the final-year $20MM salary and think of it as six years and $60MM.
If this gets done, I expect a six-year term for McCutchen, buying out two free agent years. Career bulk is a major factor in the arbitration process, so it should be important in a multiyear deal as well. A healthy 2011 season from McCutchen would give him a 100+ games played advantage over Upton, so I don't see why McCutchen would settle for less than $52MM.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
When the Reds inked Jay Bruce to a six-year extension earlier this month, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review took the opportunity to examine how the contract could affect Andrew McCutchen. While the Pirates have not yet discussed a multiyear extension with their center fielder, Biertempfel suggested that McCutchen's value would be similar to Bruce's.
The more appropriate comparison for McCutchen might actually be the player whose contract Bruce's appeared to be modeled after – Justin Upton and his six-year, $51.25MM extension. When Upton signed the extension last winter, he had posted a career slash line of .272/.350/.485 in 1157 plate appearances. At the time, McCutchen acknowledged his track record in the majors wasn't as strong as that of the Diamondbacks' outfielder, but after a strong 2010 season, the gap has closed. McCutchen's current .286/.365/.459 line, in 1146 plate appearances, matches up well with Upton's pre-2010 numbers. Upton exhibited a little more power (43 HR to McCutchen's 28), and played better defense, according to UZR. However, McCutchen plays the more challenging position in the outfield, and is more dangerous on the basepaths (55 SB to Upton's 23).
While Upton, Bruce, and McCutchen are all comparable talents, performance and potential aren't the only factors the Pirates will take into consideration when deciding whether to extend McCutchen. One difference between Upton's and Bruce's deals involves service time – Upton had acculumated just over two years of major league time when he inked his extension, meaning the first of the six years was a pre-arbitration season. As such, his contract covers just two free agent years, while Bruce's covers three, with a club option for the fourth.
Heading into the 2011 campaign, McCutchen has racked up one year and 123 days of service time, which poses an interesting dilemma for both the Pirates and McCutchen's representation. This fall, Bruce was among the group of players who became arbitration eligible early by achieving Super Two status; this year's cutoff was just two years and 122 days of service time. If the cutoff is similar in 2011, McCutchen could become arbitration eligible as early as 2012, which would have a significant impact on Pittsburgh's payroll going forward. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the 24-year-old's status, the two sides may choose to wait for some clarity before seriously discussing a long-term deal.
The more pressing question than the issue of service time though is whether the Pirates will even be willing to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $50MM in a multiyear extension. Players who have roamed the Pittsburgh outfield in recent years, such as Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, and Xavier Nady, have all eventually been traded before their salaries became exorbitant.
Such an extension for McCutchen wouldn't be entirely unprecedented though. Ten years ago, the Pirates agreed to a six-year, $60MM deal with Jason Kendall, the largest contract in team history. And while they haven't committed nearly that much money to a player in recent years, the club has exhibited a willingness to spend some cash; they've committed big money on the amateur draft and, as MLBTR's transaction tracker shows, have added a handful of major league free agents this month. Perhaps, with youngsters like Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Neil Walker now playing at the big league level, and with plenty of promising minor league talent on the way, Pittsburgh would be inclined to keep their core intact by locking up McCutchen, the relative veteran of the group.
For now, the bet here is that the Pirates wait to verify whether or not McCutchen will become a Super Two. Regardless of when he becomes eligible for arbitration, the 24-year-old will be under team control through 2015, which should give the two sides plenty of time to talk.
Links for Sunday….
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports that Mariano Rivera's representatives initiated contact with the Red Sox, who eventually offered the closer a contract. Boston was never inclined to non-tender Jonathan Papelbon had they signed Rivera; they valued him at the back of their bullpen in the short-term, and the draft picks that would come their way if he signs elsewhere as a free agent in the long-term.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman has the scoop on the Mets new coaching staff (Twitter link). Dave Hudgens will be the hitting coach, Jon Debus the bullpen coach, Ken Oberkfell the bench coach, and Mookie Wilson the first base coach.
- Hal McCoy of The Dayton Daily News thinks the Jay Bruce extension is an excellent message.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun speculates that the Orioles could still sign two more relievers even after Koji Uehara's deal becomes official, and he wouldn't be against them signing a designated hitter type either.
- Seth Livingstone of USA Today looks at what Cliff Lee would mean to both the Yankees and the Rangers.
- Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter) breaks down the details of Jay Gibbons' contract with the Dodgers. $400K of Gibbons' $650K salary is guaranteed, and he could earn as much as $800K with incentives based on plate appearances (Twitter link).
- Hernandez's colleague at the L.A. Times, T.J. Simers, isn't a fan of the Dodgers' recent moves.
- Trading for Zack Greinke is still a possibility for the Brewers, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Speaking to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, Andrew Friedman said the Rays are targeting "under-the-radar type guys that we feel fit us well and have a lot of upside."
- The Pirates haven't approached Andrew McCutchen about a long-term extension, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests Jay Bruce's deal would be a good comparable if the two sides discuss anything.
- Clint Hurdle tells Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his preference is for the Pirates to add two left-handed relievers.
- The Rockies agreed to minor league deals with a pair of players, including former Yankee first round pick Eric Duncan, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding.
- The Red Sox have made an offer to reliever Matt Guerrier, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier (as passed along in a tweet from WEEI.com's Rob Bradford).
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looks at how Jay Bruce's extension might influence a future extension offer from the Pirates to Andrew McCutchen.
- Lyle Overbay would be a familiar solution to Toronto's search for a first base/DH partner for Adam Lind, but MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm thinks Overbay "does not appear to be a good fit" since Overbay wants an everyday job. Chisholm's piece also contains several quotes from Alex Anthopoulos from the winter meetings and what the Jays might look to do during the rest of the offseason.
- The Indians and Nick Punto had "meaningful negotiations" at the winter meetings, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- Manny Ramirez will receive $15MM in deferred payments from the Dodgers over the next three years and $1.94MM for each of the next 16 years from the Red Sox, reports Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (with a tip of the cap to Cot's Baseball Contracts).
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looks back at the 11-year contract Dave Stieb signed with the Blue Jays before the 1985 season.
- Also from Stone, Jack Zduriencik says the Mariners could be in the market for an extra infielder.
3:25pm: The Pirates are aggressively pursuing Accardo, according to Kovacevic (on Twitter).
2:51pm: The latest on the Pirates:
- The Pirates are deeply interested in Jeremy Accardo, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Dodgers are also known to be in on the recently non-tendered reliever.
- A couple of teams have approached the Pirates about center fielder Andrew McCutchen, tweets ESPN's Gordon Edes, but they'd have to be overwhelmed.
- The Pirates and Justin Duchscherer have mutual interest, reports Kovacevic.
- The Pirates have shown some interest in Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. She estimates Kawakami would only cost the Pirates $1-2MM and no significant players, as the Braves are just looking to unload part of his $6.667MM salary.
- Langosch says the Pirates have mild interest in Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan. Kovacevic says the Pirates continue to discuss shortstops with many teams, including J.J. Hardy with the Twins.
- Kovacevic adds that the Pirates would love to trade Ryan Doumit. He says they'd only trade Evan Meek or Joel Hanrahan for a very significant return.