Under his current contract, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen is one of the biggest values in all of Major League Baseball. This season, the face of the Bucs franchise is set to make a mere $10 million – a far cry from what some of his elite counterparts demand annually.
For example, in terms of average annual value (AAV), Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins haves deal that pull in $25 million – while another Angels outfielder, reigning American League MVP Mike Trout, has a deal with an AAV of just over $24 million – over double what McCutchen will make in 2015 (and almost three times his $8.58 million AAV).
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However, with three teams of team control remaining on his current six-year, $51.5 million contract, a Pittsburgh Tribune report indicates that the Pirates front office is willing to give McCutchen the same money as Hamilton, Stanton and Trout – demonstrating a strong desire to keep the perennial MVP candidate in the Steel City.
According to Rob Biertempfel of the Trib, there are no active discussions between McCutchen and the organization – but his sources say that the club is “willing to go to great lengths to keep McCutchen in Pittsburgh, even if the numbers approach the current salary stratosphere of $25 million-plus per year.”
When asked about it, the 28-year-old standout offered these brief remarks:
"“If that happens, that will be something we’ll talk about. Right now, I’m not too worried about it. It’s nothing that I’m thinking about, really. If it happens, that would be great. I look forward to it if they do that.”"
Last season, McCutchen batted .314/.410/.542 for the Pirates, while finishing third in the National League MVP voting. He added 25 long-balls and 83 runs batted in to go along with a career-high 38 doubles. 2015 marked the third-straight season he posted a slash-live above .300/.400/.500.
Over the past four seasons, in which he has earned an All-Star selection in each, the Pirates outfielder has averaged 150-plus contests – while hitting 25 home runs and driving in just under 90 runs. He’s become the face of the franchise and a clubhouse leader for a young team that is coming off back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since the early 1990s.
Flanked by the likes of Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, McCutchen is one-third of perhaps the most talented outfield in all of Major League Baseball – and as the team’s leader, he’s set for a major payday. The question of whether or not he will remain productive throughout his 30s is a major concern for ownership, but Bob Nutting says he’s up for the challenge.
"“It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to. At this point, it’s not appropriate to dig in (and comment) on any particular player other than we really respect and appreciate what Andrew does, on and off the field, every day.”"
The organization has a major task at-hand moving forward, but with three years of team control remaining, time is on the Pirates’ side to get a deal done that works for both sides.