Did Andrew McCutchen (.325 – 17 HR – 61 RBI) win his second straight MVP last night? If the Pirates get into the playoffs via the wildcard or division, a lot of voters are going to remember last night when McCutchen hit the game tying home-run in the ninth inning and then hit a go ahead home-run in the 11th inning, powering the Pirates to a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
McCutchen is now hitting .359 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI since June 1. He posted a 1.096 OPS in June and 1.319 OPS in July so far.
McCutchen is making just $7.25 million this season and the Tribune-Review has an article up today on McCutchen being one of the Majors best values.
There’s no denying that as McCutchen took a significantly below average deal when he signed a six year, $51 million deal in March 2012.
McCutchen’s agent Steve Hammond admitted pretty soon afterwards he regretted letting his client take the deal but it was a rare situation in baseball when a budding superstar accepted a team friendly deal that took away free agency years.
The Pirates are in a great position with McCutchen. He’s 27 years old in his prime and they have him on a team friendly contract for the next four seasons.
2014: $7.25 million, 2015: $10 million, 2016: $13 million, 2017: $14 million, 2018: $14.75 million club option ($1 million buyout)
There is no reason for the Pirates to even consider renegotiating McCutchen contract for an extension until after the 2016 season at the earliest.
When McCutchen can be a free agent again in Winter of 2018, he will be 32. Pittsburgh has him locked up in his prime years and the focus should be on a three to four year window of putting a championship team around him.
Players start declining into their 30’s and for a small market franchise like the Pirates that will never spend $20 million a year on one player, the best decision in three years from now might be to put the money that could go towards McCutchen and give it to Gregory Polanco who will just be hitting his prime at 25 years old and move McCutchen for a significant return if he’s looking to get market value on his next deal, which remains to be seen, as McCutchen has never come off as an athlete who intends to chase the money.
Either way Pittsburgh looks to be in a win-win situation with McCutchen long-term.