The Pirates and center fielder Andrew McCutchen are not discussing a contract extension, and that doesn’t surprise the five-time All-Star, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“Who’s going to want to sign me for the (rest of) my career when I’ve had the year that I’ve had? No one is going to think that,” McCutchen told Biertempfel. “You know what they’re going to think? ‘Trade him. Get him out of here. He doesn’t deserve (an extension).’ People are going to say that.”
The normally excellent McCutchen has endured by far the worst season of his eight-year career, having accounted for less than 1.0 fWAR while taking sizable steps backward as a batter, baserunner and defender. The lifetime .292/.381/.487 hitter has slashed an underwhelming-in-comparison .255/.336/.430 in 670 plate appearances, though he has clubbed 20-plus home runs for the sixth straight year and experienced an offensive resurgence since August. As a runner, McCutchen has been caught stealing more than he has been successful, which is a first, as the 29-year-old has swiped a career-low six bags on 13 attempts. Moreover, his minus-2.2 BsR is also a personal worst. Defensively, McCutchen is easily the last-ranked center fielder in the majors in Defensive Runs Saved (minus-27), Ultimate Zone Rating (minus-17.6) and UZR/150 (minus-22.5).
If the low-payroll Pirates are going to keep McCutchen in the fold for the foreseeable future, he realizes he’ll have to put forth a better performance next season.
“I’ve got to prove — not to (fans), but to the team and to ownership — that I’m able to play out my career at a high level,” the 2013 National League MVP said. “I didn’t do that this year. I didn’t play at my best level. There are a lot of places I can improve, and I didn’t do that this year.”
Unless the Pirates trade McCutchen in the offseason, they won’t have to make any immediate decisions on his future. He’s under contract next season for $14MM and can stay in the fold in 2018 by way of a $14.5MM club option. While those are eminently reasonable figures, general manager Neal Huntington was noncommittal about McCutchen’s future on Sunday.
“It’s fair to say we’ll continue to explore how we get this club back into a postseason hunt,” said Huntington, whose team will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2012. “We love this core (of players), and we think we can supplement it. At the same time, if there is a significant move that gives us a better chance to get back to the postseason in 2017 and ideally ’18 and beyond, that’s something we’ll be open to.”
Productive corner outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, both of whom are on team-friendly deals, are surely part of the core Huntington mentioned. The same has been true of McCutchen, long the face of the franchise, but his future in Pittsburgh seems less certain than ever. Further clouding his long-term status is the presence of 21-year-old outfielder Austin Meadows, a top prospect who’s nearing the majors.
If they like Meadows, I’d expect Cutch to be traded. Especially if they can use a Marte, Polanco, Bell outfield, as well.
The question is what could they get?
Would the Mets give up a Wheeler or Matz if they lose Cespedes?
Would the Nats give up Giolito to load up the outfield for a run or two?
Who might want him and what might they give up?
No way in hell either of those teams make that trade. A .255/.336 bad defensively, and gets caught stealing more than he steals will net a Jered Weaver
You seriously think McCutchen only brings back Weaver??
You’re a moron
I wonder what they would want for him I would love for Seattle to take a look and see if they could get him. Use him in CF move Martin to LF or maybe RF depending on who the other OFer will be. Seattle would be a great place for him to have a bounce back year. They have some young players but need some veterans. Dipoto talks about wanting an athletic OF but plays Seth Smith out there he has to go. We have some decent middle IF prospects some pitching prospects not sure what what Pitt wants but worth a look.
I’d have to disagree, id rather try to sign. Cespedes or Desmond to play left or right than trade prospects for him.
I don’t think they’d trade him for prospects. If they trade him, they need someone to help them contend in 2017.
Not really sure what they need for help they could start a package with Cisheck who lost his closing role because of an injury but looked pretty good when he came back. Vogelbach at 1st is supposed to be ready he was an odd pick up since we have almost the same player in AAA right now waiting to come up in DJ Peterson. Then we have a couple BP arms that are ready and one or two middle infielders. The rest are OFers would not make sense or guys that are a few years out. I would think there are a couple pitchers there the Pirates might need interested in but they are a couple years out and I would hate to see them go especially Gohara. Dipoto was going to trade him for the SS from the Reds at the deadline so it is a possibility. I think it would have been a dumb trade SS was not where we needed the most help this season. Anyway I disagree with the kid I think signing Cespedes is going to cost too much his glove is a liability even though his arm lets him get away with some bad plays. We also need OBP guys not HR with high swing and miss rates. If Andrew can bounce back he would be great for the few years we need until our young guys are ready to come up and contribute.
You know I love the refreshing honesty of this guy, I’ve always liked watching him play and I’d take him on my team in a heartbeat. His batting Average on Balls in Play has dropped at least 44 points on what it was the last 4 years. I feel like he’ll turn it around next year and hope he does.
I wonder if the O’s would try to make a move for him. They could keep Jones in center and put McCutchen in right. The only problem is what is the asking price and what would the O’s have to give up?
I think if he’s available, anyone who needs a corner outfielder will be in the race for him. He’s not exactly expensive at $14 million for 2017.
I don’t think Pittsburgh should trade him this offseason when he is at a low point and wait for him to rebound in April or even Spring Training in March.
The Cardinals could show interest in McCutchen, especially with the recent news of letting Matt Holliday go by not picking up his club option for 2017. They have an insane amount of talent looming in the farm system as well as some veterans that could be moved…like Jhonny Peralta. It will be interesting this off-season.
Not a chance he gets moved to the cards. I highly doubt he would be moved to an NL team. Pus, if he gets moved, the pirates would want pitching, not a position player like Peralta
I’m sure STL is interested, just as every other MLB team is. They know one down year doesn’t mean his career is over. McCutchen may not be a top 3 MVP guy again, but I’m sure next year he’ll be a lot better than this year.
Here’s the problem: No team wants to trade a franchise player to a division rival. There are so many ways that can come back to bite both teams. But lets hypothetically say Cardinals ask Bucs for McCutchen, or Reds for Joey Votto. Both teams would listen, but the price would be extra for STL, because they are in the same division. I’m not sure the Cardinals, or any other NL Central team, would want to give up that big of a haul. Free Agency, or other teams outside the division, are more suitable places to acquire talent.
They’re not going to trade him this off season unless they’re overwhelmed. I really doubt anyone is going to do that.
He did come back and bat .284/.381/.471 from August on after a horrible first half. suggesting he will recover next season at the plate.
there was something wrong with McCUTCHEN that we don’t know about i think.You just don’t drop off that drastic being a star of your team for no reason.There is something that we are not supposed to know and this is why i don’t think he is going anywhere.I can see him working his butt off to get in the condition that he was in and really working on all aspects of his game.I see him working on his fielding,his hitting,and his better eye on the ball,lets face it he struck out 141 times this year and looked really bad a lot of the time,that’s just not cutch.I’m not worried to much about his base stealing as he was never a real base swapper before.For him to talk openly about the whole issue shows that he needs to pick his game back up to where it was before.Remember he is only 29 and has a lot of playing time left,so its not like he is at the end of his career and the pirates have to make a panic decision.Really i don’t believe the pirates want to lose him,they like him to much and every player hits that wall once in their career.I think the biggest problem the pirates have is hurdle not having a steady lineup.To come to the ballpark and knowing your in the lineup and hitting in the same slot everyday is much more relaxing then having to go check the lineup everyday as to where you are hitting.I don’t know if anyone has talked to hurdle about this but i sure would hope that if no one has that someone steps up and address’s this with him.