McCutchen, the No. 11 pick in the 2005 draft, turned down offers before the 2010 and ’11 seasons. No substantial talks have been held since last year, when the sides were far apart on financial terms.
McCutchen’s camp likes the $51 million deals given to Arizona’s Justin Upton and Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce, two other standout outfielders from the 2005 draft class. The Pirates prefer a package closer to $40 million.
The perfect time to sign McCutchen to an extension is now. After this season, he will be entering arbitration and the leverage in any deals will start to shift in his direction. There is also the strong possibility that McCutchen could just totally breakout and go off this year, thus making a Bruce/Upton deal out of the question.
I don’t think there are too many GM’s out there that think the deals signed by Bruce (6 yrs/$51 mil plus $13 mil option) and Upton (6 yrs/$51.5 mil) are bad ideas. Cutch is every bit the player that either of those two are (actually more) and is now entering the same season in which those two players signed those deals.
Both deals bought out all the remaining years of team control plus the first two years of each player’s free agency. Bruce’s deal also includes a club option for a third year of free agency.
In 420 games played, McCutchen has posted a WAR of 12.9 (.0307/game). Upton has posted a WAR of 14.6 in 581 career games played (.0251/game). Bruce is sitting at 11.3 WAR in 514 games (.0219/game).
Sorry, Bucs, but if you are offering a deal in the $40 million range, that simply isn’t going to cut it. McCutchen deserves everything that both Bruce and Upton got, and probably a little more.