Author Topic: McCutchen signs with Pirates, 6y/51m  (Read 1302 times)

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Offline Kevrock

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Re: McCutchen signs with Pirates, 6y/51m
« Topic Start: March 05, 2012, 10:51:48 AM »

seems in line with the comps

Put simply, this is the accepted going rate for young outfielders with 2+ years of service who have flashed a good amount of potential. However, the Pirates should be thrilled that they were able to negotiate the same deal with McCutchen as the D’Backs and Reds did with their young stars.

For one, salaries have gone up since both of those deals were signed. The new money being pushed into the league through increased revenues (especially television contracts) have caused the price of talent to go up, and we’ve seen a lot of money thrown around this winter for both free agents and guys getting extensions in lieu of going to arbitration. That the Pirates were able to negotiate a deal that essentially ignored the fact that inflation has occurred in the last 18-24 months is a win for them.

There’s also the fact that McCutchen simply has a better Major League track record at this point than either Bruce or Upton did when they were extended. In essentially three full seasons in the big leagues, he’s posted extremely consistent wRC+’s, going 125/125/129 since breaking into the big leagues. Bruce’s first three seasons went 93/96/122, while Upton went 55/103/132. Both players were coming off one season that were on par with what McCutchen has done, but he’s done it three years in a row, and he’s done it while playing center field. Both Bruce and Upton were younger than McCutchen when they broke into the big leagues, so you have to adjust their performances for their age as well, but the fact is that McCutchen’s stronger early career track record makes him a bit less of a risk in projecting future performance than either Bruce or Upton were.

Upton’s a fair comp for McCutchen, given their overall career performances and skills, but the Pirates simply got a better deal than Arizona did on the extension – they got the team option that Arizona didn’t and signed the deal in a market where player prices were going up. And, if you compare the McCutchen deal with the Bruce contract, you simply can’t get around the fact that the Pirates got a far superior player for the same price. I would have thought that McCutchen could have landed a deal more similar to the seven year, $80 million extension that Carlos Gonzalez got a year ago – it not only covered the same years of service time, but the same years in terms of age. Gonzalez might have been coming off a more impressive offensive season, but he also had a spottier track record and and a less refined game overall. That’s probably the deal that McCutchen should have aimed for, rather than settling for a carbon copy of the Bruce/Upton deals.

Pittsburgh fans, dance in the streets. Not only do you have one of the best players in the game locked up through his prime, you got him at a price that is a bit below what should have been expected based on his skills and the rising cost of locking up premium young talent. The Pirates have a true franchise player under wraps at prices that are going to make him one of the game’s best bargains for the foreseeable future.