Talks between the Pirates and Andrew McCutchen on a possible reunion have begun to speed up, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A deal between the 2 sides might be accomplished by early subsequent week.
A reunion between McCutchen and the Pirates has been seen as one thing of a formality for a number of months now. McCutchen returned to his unique group final 12 months, signing a one-year deal value $5M to function the group’s designated hitter and a part-time outfielder. He instructed Mackey on the time of his signing that he hoped to complete his profession again in Pittsburgh, which felt like dwelling. Cutch reiterated his need to play in Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh solely again in Might, and after his season resulted in early September with a partial tear of his Achilles, Pirates GM Ben Cherington mentioned they hoped for a brand new deal and planned to talk with McCutchen this winter.
The now-37-year-old McCutchen is a franchise icon with the Pirates, who chosen him with the eleventh general choose again in 2005 and watched him develop from one of many sport’s prime prospects to a Rookie of the Yr candidate, to a five-time All-Star and eventual Nationwide League MVP (2013). McCutchen signed a $51.5M extension with the Bucs in 2012 however was traded after the group picked up an possibility for the seventh and ultimate season of the deal — a swap that introduced present cornerstone Bryan Reynolds to Pittsburgh.
After stops with the Giants, Yankees, Phillies and Brewers, McCutchen returned dwelling final 12 months and spoke typically about his love of Pittsburgh and his need to complete out his profession there. It wasn’t all pure nostalgia, nonetheless, because the four-time Silver Slugger proved he nonetheless had life in his bat as effectively. McCutchen tallied 473 plate appearances and posted a .256/.378/.397 batting line, swatting a dozen homers, gathering 19 doubles and strolling at an enormous 15.9% clip.
The timing of McCutchen’s harm was notably unlucky, because it got here on the cusp of a milestone. McCutchen sits at 299 profession dwelling runs — only one shy of changing into simply the a hundred and sixtieth participant in MLB historical past to succeed in 300 dwelling runs. The Pirates open the 2024 season on the highway, so it’s doable that his milestone round-tripper might come away from the house followers, however no matter the place that historic lengthy ball takes place, the followers at PNC Park will give McCutchen a hero’s welcome at any time when he first takes the sector once more subsequent season.
Assuming McCutchen resumes his function as a main designated hitter, he’ll slot right into a lineup with Reynolds and Jack Suwinski locked into outfield spots, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Oneil Cruz on the left facet of the infield, Henry Davis behind the plate and lately signed Rowdy Tellez at first base. The Pirates at present have a projected payroll of simply $58M, and re-signing McCutchen at or near the identical phrases as final 12 months would push that to $63M. It’s not clear fairly how excessive the group’s payroll will go, however Cherington mentioned at this month’s Winter Conferences that the payroll will increase over final 12 months’s $73M mark.