The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a few mistakes over the past few years, but in 2012 when the club signed Andrew McCutchen to a $50 plus million dollar six-year deal, talk about a huge win. The Los Angeles Angels are working on a six-year extension for Mike Trout that would have the Millville Meteor in Angels wings through his age-27 season.
The deal is rumored to be in the neighborhood of $150 million for the player widely considered to be the best on the planet.
One hundred and fifty million before Trout could become a free agent at the age of 28. Mike Trout is a valuable player who plays center field, one of the most valuable positions in the game. The possible Trout deal makes the ones signed around the time Cutch signed now pale in comparison. The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Justin Upton to a six-year, $51.25 million contract before 2010. The Cincinnati Reds inked outfielder Jay Bruce to a a six-year, $51 million deal in 2011. McCutchen has put both of those players in the rear view mirror.
If Trout continues to put up 10 WAR seasons, it’s scary to think where he could end up when/if he would ever hit the open market. McCutchen has some work to do in order to match the production of Trout, but it’s not unreasonable to think it could happen. Even if it doesn’t, being the second best center fielder in the game isn’t a bad thing.
The interesting thing to consider about the possible extension for Trout is he could hit the market a year after McCutchen. What impact would that have on McCutchen? Teams are going to covet the Bucs star in a big way, the Pirates aren’t going to be able to pay, so Cutch is likely to be traded before all this happens, but just think about some numbers for a minute or two. Promise it won’t hurt.
Should the unthinkable ever happen and the Pirates let Cutch leave on his own accord, he gets traded, hell whatever. When McCutchen hits the free agent market, a bidding war of epic proportions could ensue. Rival teams that might be looking ahead at Trout might not be willing to throw out the $400, $450, or hell, why not $500 million which a player like Trout could bring. You know… inflation is a bitch.
So Cutch might be the bargain option. If McCutchen continues at his current pace, would a $350 million dollar deal really be that outlandish to consider?
Should McCutchen keep jumping his WAR to over eight per season, it’s not hard to fathom Cutch landing a $350 million dollar deal on the open market. Cutch will be in his very early thirties which is a big difference than Trout’s possible situation, but still.
Fangraphs calculates McCutchen’s 2012 season was worth $30 million. The MVP 2013 season was worth over $40 million. (Click to embiggen)
So just how much will McCutchen get when his time to land the big money comes? It’s pretty awesome to think about. The future projections show Cutch actually reducing his WAR to around six the next few years, so he will need to outperform the projections, but that’s never been a problem.
With baseball revenues continuing to grow, a $350 million dollar deal for Andrew McCutchen certainly isn’t that unthinkable, hell it could be $400 million should all go well.