Sep 25, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) hits a sacrifice fly scoring Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison (not pictured) in the third inning of their game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Players always have to be happy after a major deal happens for another. This is definitely the case for most who have contracts ending soon after Giancarlo Stanton signed his record-breaking 13-year $325 million deal with the Miami Marlins Monday.
Andrew McCutchen does not fall into this mix and it could not work out any better for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 2013 MVP is signed through 2017 — with an option year — as part of his six-year $51.5 million deal. The Pirates clearly are major winners after the Stanton deal because the club will not have to worry about keeping their best player around during the prime of his career. McCutchen will begin his age 29-year as possibly the best player in the National League after he has posted two-straight incredible years. Despite missing some time with an injury in 2014, McCutchen still homered 25 times, had 83 RBI and scored 89 runs. McCutchen did enough to be an MVP finalist and realistically could have had another trophy in his case. While he did not win the award, he again was the Pirates’ best player and likely will be that for at least the next three to four seasons.
FanGraphs does projections for players and most of the time predictions are geared towards regression. McCutchen’s projections are lower in average (.301) and home runs (23) if he played 146 games. So while those numbers dip, his numbers increase in RBI (87) and runs (91). McCutchen could play more than 146 games and every time he steps onto the field, he adds that much more to the Bucs.
There may be some sort of contract restructuring to come after the Stanton deal, but it will not come close to the ridiculous deal the Marlins’ slugger signed. Whatever the case, McCutchen is one of the best players in the game who is certainly under paid. For those reasons alone, he should already be the leader in the clubhouse for the 2015 MVP award.