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A lifetime contract for the NL MVP?


SOUTH HILLS – Andrew McCutchen‘s contract is perhaps the best in baseball. The reigning NL MVP enters his Age 27 season under club control over the next five seasons, assuming the Pirates pick up his $18.5 million option in 2018. The Pirates control McCutchen through his prime at rates that are far below market value. Club-friendly deals aren’t always friendly due to injury and performance regression, but when they are friendly, they give clubs tens of millions of dollars of surplus value.

McCutchen by year:

Year     Salary                  WAR projection    Market value (based upon $5.5 million per WAR)

2014: $7.46 million      6.8                             $37.4 million

2015:  $10.2  million     6.7                            $36.8 million

2016:  $13.2 million      6.4                             $35.2 million

2017:  $14.2 million      6.3                             $34.6 million

2018:  *$14.5 million       6.0                           $33    million

TOTAL $59.5 million      32.2 WAR               $177 million


That’s $117 million in surplus value over five years. Pretty incredible value if he stays healthy. That’s three years of free agency bought out by the Pirates, that might have cost $90 million on the open market.


McCutcthen’s contract can really be appreciated as in the context of the Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury deals, and the Mike Trout contract extension rumors.  And the McCutchen contract has now supplanted Evan Longoria‘s as the most club-friendly in the game, I think.


But this is where the Longoria comparison gets interesting. With four guaranteed years left on his contract – like McCutchen has remaining – Tampa and Longoria added a six more years and $100 million to the deal late in 2012. The contract will keep Longoria as a Ray for perhaps his entire career and at least through his Age 36 season.


Said Longoria at the time of the signing: “I always wanted to be kind of a benchmark player … the guy that you could think about or associate with the organization,” Longoria said. “My goal from Day 1 was to be the first player that played their whole career here, to be the first guy that came into the organization and went out in the organization, and played all the years in between. There’s no better place for me.”


Could McCutchen and the Pirates benefit from a similar commitment?


On the surface, there’s little incentive for the Pirates to consider this. They control McCutchen through his prime, through his Age 31 season. But on the other hand what would it mean to have a “benchmark,” face-of-the-franchise for a decade and a half? What would it mean to double-down on a discounted contract with McCutchen? Even if it’s five-year, $100 million extension — if McCutchen follows a Carlos Beltran career arc and ages gracefully it would be a bargain. Moreover, what would that commitment mean to a fanbase? What might that mean in future ticket sales and TV ratings, ect? What is the value in having an iconic player for an extended period? Some of the value might be tangible, some intangible. Of course if McCutchen goes Grady Sizemore on the Pirates it would be  a disaster.


McCutchen is so far from free agency he might have some incentive to lock up a nine-figure deal. The Pirates? Less incentive I would imagine.


It’s unlikely to happen, sure. But it’s worth noting that the man McCutchen supplanted with having the most club-favorable deal in the sport didn’t wait for free agency, he didn’t wait to test the market, he doubled down with the club. Longoria could be a one-uniform, one-city, iconic player. There’s a value in that. And as much as we like to measure everything around here I’m not sure we can measure that.


– TS



  1. This constant focus on contracts and money instead of baseball seems to be like “Sports Porn” to you guys.

    Let it go!

  2. macchamp74 says:

    I would be stunned if Pirate management did that. That money probably will be held for Meadows, McGuire, Tallion, Glasnow and final few years of Polanco before he hits free agency.

  3. Tony says:

    If fans keep filling the stands, it’s time for the BMTIB to keep McCutcheon as a career Pirate.

    One can only hope…..

  4. Dennis says:

    I love the idea. Particularly if it includes a no-trade clause so AM can really be a lifetime Buc.

  5. Jim S. says:


    Great topic!

    Cutch has to already know how underpaid he is, by market standards. I don’t see him agreeing to a below market value extension, and that is what it would take for the Bucs to do it. He is going to want paid big-time, next time. He’d be crazy not to expect that at this point. But, the Bucs can’t afford to value each WAR at $5.5 million. I believe WAR has to be valued at different levels by different teams, based on their budget limitations. If a player is insistent on being paid at $5.5/WAR, then the Bucs have no shot at him. Do they have anyone on the roster being paid at that level? The Yankees & Dodgers have a slew of them, and some being paid more. And, I’ll bet the Yankees & Dodgers will still be much more profitable than the Bucs. Something has to change.

  6. Jim S. says:

    Aside from pitching, the position where the Bucs are best prepared for the future is OF. Polanco, Meadows, Barnes, Ramirez, Bell, etc.

  7. Jim S. says:

    I think you just lit another match here, Travis. This topic should take off!

  8. NMR says:

    Not that the deal needs to look any better, but I’m 99% sure that Cutch’s option year is for $14.75m, not $18.5m.

  9. 21sthebest says:

    If any player ever told me that WAR was a proven statistic that didn’t have flaws and that $5.5M/1WAR was the standard, I’d tell him to take a hike.

  10. Nate83 says:

    If Cutch has another year that rivals his 2012 and 2013 seasons this year I don’t think we are fully comprehending the level of national exposure he will get. He has every intangible you want in a spokesperson or ambassador for the game. Locking him up until 2022 or 2023 would be a huge benefit as long as the team stays somewhat competitive around him. The revenue streams and value of having a top 5 recognizable player in the league really can’t be overstated. There are a lot of intangibles that he would bring that would give the contract value even with regression to something more ordinary.

    That being said I can’t see this happening until the Pirates know more about what’s coming up through the system. They will no a lot more about Meadows, Bell, Taillon, Glasnow, Kingham, Polanco, Marte and others in two years and know which of those they will want to have in their prime years instead of Cutch through his more then likely declining years. As we know there is only so much money to go around and a Cutch contract means another player or two isn’t getting one.

  11. Nate83 says:

    All statistics have flaws. None of them tell the entire story. WAR is just a culmination of those flawed stats. Free agent are paid based on what other players with similar skills and statistics are getting paid. The 5.5 is just working backwards from what the top players at X position who where most recently given free agent contracts received. I doubt the term WAR is brought up by the agent but players with similar WAR and what they received for their contract is definitely part of the discussion.

  12. Warren says:

    Best prepared for sure, but none of those guys is the reigning MVP. Polanco is a given as a future member of the OF, and while Meadows is a ways off, he’s a good bet to be a lock. Barnes can’t stay healthy and Bell’s future is likely at 1B. Barnes, Ramirez, and even Marte could/should be used to fill holes at SS/3B. That projects for a 2018 OF of Polanco, Cutch, and Meadows.

  13. Travis Sawchik says:

    Good news for you Groat, I’m headed down to Bradenton on Monday at which point coverage here should be less business-centric

  14. Travis Sawchik says:

    You’re correct, NMR. It’s 14.5m not 18.5. My bad. I’ve edited the post.

  15. Nate83 says:

    Maybe we can hear about how Gabby and Heredia both lost weight again. Or how Lambo has a chance to seize the opportunity. I see that on every website.

    I personally enjoyed the out of the box look at Cutch’s contract and the thought of a possible extension to make him a lifetime bucco. I’d much rather that then the same stuff I’m seeing on the other 5 or 6 blogs/websites about the Pirates I look at. Thanks Travis. I’m looking forward to Rob and your reports from Bradenton.

  16. 21sthebest says:

    “Free agent are paid based on what other players with similar skills and statistics are getting paid.”

    My view is that they’re paid based on a combination of what a team projects them to do for their team and how badly they want them.

  17. cmat0829 says:

    I would HOPE the Pirates front office has some sort of feel for projections into the future…. first and foremost, what the revenue/payroll budget is likely to be….and then second, where player values are likely to be…. and then what is the strategy to compete in that market….

    My assumption would be that the Pirates relative position will get better when they can renegotiate the local media rights, but they will still be a “lower third” revenue and budget organization regardless. I’m also assuming the only way to really compete on the field will be to draft well and develop well…and to spackle lineup holes with creativity and flexibility. My last assumption will be that there will always be room in every team’s budget to pay max contract for 1 player…. so to me, I do think the Pirates have incentive to try to double down now on Cutch…. regardless of the $$s now, I think the pace of market inflation will be faster than projections and I think they will get a benefit of acting now vs. waiting.

  18. Jim S. says:

    I think WAR gets brought up a lot when it suits the needs of an agent for a particular player, and not so much when it doesn’t. I can close my eyes and hear Scot Boras waxing on an on about one guy’s WAR to a certain GM, and how it means he deserves 2x the money being offered, then telling another GM the next day that WAR is all a bunch of hooey.

    BTW, there’s an interesting Hardball Times article out today about pitch framing and how much value to assign to it for a catcher. It’s certainly still an evolving concept, but it is also becoming pretty evident that pitch framing is likely a more important skill than throwing out would be base stealers or blocking the plate.

    A big chunk of the article was about how inexact WAR has been for catchers, historically, as a result.

    I agree with 21, though. I never believe anything just because some really smart guy says it is true. Sometimes, really smart guys who analyze things in baseball are as susceptible to errors as anyone else. There are so many variables to account for in any baseball analysis that it often takes a lot of trial and error before something is anywhere near reliable. At least, that is my view.

  19. Jim S. says:


  20. Jim S. says:

    I hear you, Warren, and that’s a good point. But, except for Polanco, none of those guys are coming this year, either. It could be that by the time they arrive, Cutch is no longer an MVP level player.

  21. Jim S. says:

    I just got a surprise call from John Hart. We were talking about the new wave of MLB writers. I asked him if he could sum it up one sentence. He said, “Travis Sawchik … That’s what they look like.”

  22. Nate83 says:

    I’m not totally convinced how long the local media rights boom will last. I’m not sure it will still be there when the Pirates 10 year contract is up. Sports will always be something people want to watch as it happens as opposed to DVR but other avenues will continue to open up for how to watch live baseball whether it be on the computer or through MLB package deals. I think the Pirates just had bad timing in this case and may never realize the true benefit of a great local TV contract.

    The plus to that is I think more and more of the TV money will come from a shared pool of money for internet rights controlled by MLB and National TV deals.

  23. Nate83 says:

    When there are 30 teams bidding on a players it would make sense to me that the amount other players received would decide the value of the free agent. For extensions I could see that logic but even then the agent will be bringing up what similar players received and holding the notion that they could just wait and go on the free market. This just happened to the Pirates with AJ. Once he decided to open himself up to the market it no longer mattered what the Pirates where willing to pay.

  24. Nate83 says:

    I can’t see Marte not being in the outfield. If Polanco and Meadows both become elite players by that time somebody will be traded. The problem of having 4 player with 4-6 WAR in the outfield is a problem most teams would love to have. It will be interesting to see which guy would get moved in that situation. My guess would be Marte or Cutch. Cutch would still be underpaid and have immense value to another team. The return in prospects would be impressive and we would maintain a 12 WAR outfield while lowering payroll.

  25. JohninOshkosh says:

    Agree, 21. All the Mariners bashing that went on this winter regarding Cano. Simple fact is that the Mariners wanted him on their ball club and were willing to give him the contract he wanted.

    Something that can not be done in sports with salary caps, I might add.

  26. JohninOshkosh says:

    The clock on this blog messes with my sense of the time/space continuum.

  27. Jim S. says:

    It’s set for Greenwich, England, I think.

  28. Mitch SK Williams says:

    If TV Reps were smart they would wrap TV revs around success rate of the team.

  29. NMR says:

    I see absolutely no evidence that Bob Nutting cares to think into the future more than a day, as far as revenue and salary goes.

    For instance, we know for a fact that the team did not leverage National TV money this year because they were not certain of the exact amount they’d receive.

    You won’t find an organization that is more risk averse when it comes to money than the Nutting-owned Pirates.

  30. Jim S. says:

    I’ve said before, and I see no reason yet why it won’t be true … Cutch will not stick here for his entire current contract. Not because he is too expensive on this contract. Not because they don’t recognize his value. It will be precisely because they do recognize his value, and they also know he won’t sign another way under value next time. And, they haver already told us they can’t/won’t sign long term deals for market value.

    Now, the hard part for the team will be parting with him if the Bucs are in the thick of a playoff run at the 2017 deadline. If they are, I see them unloading him after that season. The haul could be huge. By then, they figure to have a pretty good replacement to put in the lineup. None of us will like it, but I have a feeling that might be how it plays out.

  31. Jim S. says:

    Nice handle, Steel!!

  32. Thank you, Travis! Great to hear.

    You know BASEBALL. You become our eyes, as I tried to be for others when I was at Pirate City for 12 days.

    I look forward to you talking about baseball

  33. NMR says:

    So you really think they’re going to trade Marte and Cutch in the same year?

  34. Jim S. says:

    12 days, Groat? You’re living the life. You must have leathery skin after all that sun.

  35. Jim S. says:

    I think if Marte plays well again this year, I believe they will do one of them thar Braves-like extensions that are so popular right about now.

  36. Mitch (SK) Williams says:

    Uh Travis, Me thinks you are going to be spending several extra hours blogging from the Pittsburgh airport if you try and leave Monday.

  37. Mitch (SK) Williams says:

    Dang it NMR, Quit doing my job!

  38. Dennis says:

    It might be a lot harder to sell the Pirates to the local broadcaster if AM and Pedro are playing somewhere else while the average fan thinks we would have a championship team if we still had them. No ratings, no big package.

  39. Sandoz says:

    I almost feel guilty about Cutch’s deal. What put it in perspective for me is Brett Gardner, who is a good player but no where near Cutch’s level, got an extension starting in 2015 through 2018 worth $51MM. Cutch will be getting $52MM over that same time period.

    I wonder if Cutch is at all salty. If he’s not, he’s a better man than me.

  40. Justin says:

    It’s all baseball. The more/less money you spend Cutch, the less/more money you can spend on other positions, which affects the quality of baseball you watch.

  41. Justin says:

    a big fat extension to a 31 yr old into his mid-to-late thirties is a risky proposition.

    But Cutch is such a freak athlete that perhaps he’ll age gracefully. i believe there’s literature about how speedier players age better. which makes sense i guess. If all of the OF prospects bust/are traded, then i can definitely see a scenario in which cutch is extended again.

  42. Nate83 says:

    This in my opinion is the most important point brought up on this thread. There is zero reason for this team to go into this year with the same or lower payroll then last year. There is still time and moves can be made during the year but as it stands right now I’m disappointed in the off season. I fully expected a 15-20 million increase in payroll based on what we think we know.

  43. Arriba Wilver says:


  44. NMR says:

    Hahaha, just realized who this was. Touche, friend, touche!

  45. The Gunner says:

    I quote NMR a few posts above: “You won’t find an organization that is more risk averse when it comes to money than the Nutting-owned Pirates.”

    Don’t hold your breath that the BMTIB will offer a big fat extension to a 31 yr old Cutch. And besides, who cares what happens in 3 or 4 years. The window of opportunity is here for the Buccos RIGHT NOW!

  46. Nate83 says:

    By the way Groat thanks for your daily post about spring training. They where both informative and entertaining.

  47. 21sthebest says:

    They almost ran the franchise into bankruptcy in 2003 and I think they were teetering again in 2009. So yeah, I think they’re real careful with how they spend but I think it’s also a bit more complicated than just saying they’re risk adverse.

  48. NMR says:

    It would take financial mismanagement of proportions unseen to put a franchise into bankruptcy with the amount of revenue in the game right now.

  49. will sanchez says:

    why is lowering payroll so important..aren’t the “Nutting” making 20-30 millions a year enough money?
    trust me they are not going to go broke if they break even for a year or two..put a “SOLID TEAM ON THE field” not 3 ,4 or 5 solid players and the rest “automatic outs”..look at the cards solid all around…the Cubs will be the next team that’s will compare with the Cards..meanwhile the “Nuttings” will be “laughing all the way to the BANK” world series just some “rose colored glasses ” for the fans to look at..and the bad part is that you all support it…like if you were to inherit their money..”The TIME IS NOW” in 2 years we will have the “Cards, Cubs to contend with”
    “This should have been the year that the BUCS went “all out” “

  50. will sanchez says:

    will sanchez
    February 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    why is lowering payroll so important..aren’t the “Nutting” making 20-30 millions a year enough money?
    trust me they are not going to go broke if they break even for a year or two..put a “SOLID TEAM ON THE field” not 3 ,4 or 5 solid players and the rest “automatic outs”..look at the cards solid all around…the Cubs will be the next team that’s will compare with the Cards..meanwhile the “Nuttings” will be “laughing all the way to the BANK” world series just some “rose colored glasses ” for the fans to look at..and the bad part is that you all support it…like if you were to inherit their money..”The TIME IS NOW” in 2 years we will have the “Cards, Cubs to contend with”
    “This should have been the year that the BUCS went “all out” “

  51. 21sthebest says:

    It’s all relative to me.

  52. will sanchez says:

    I feel the same way..let sign him ..I WOULD LOVE FOR HIM TO BE MOVED TO 1B ..He could Be the next ‘POPS Stargell”..the reason for 1 b it would take less toll on his body ..prolonging his career..since the BUCS don’t draft Infielders, 1B would be covered for the next 8-10 years..SOMEONE HAS TO BE THE “FACE OF THE FRANCHISE” why not him..

  53. Nate83 says:

    Who are you asking that to NMR. If it’s to me I don’t think that will happen. I was just saying if the Pirates are lucky enough to have 4 outfielders (Marte, Polanco, Cutch, Meadows) all playing to their ceilings in 2017 somebody will need to be traded. I thought Cutch or Marte would the most likely candidates just because of the more years of control over the other 2 and in the end I think Polanco will be better then Marte.

  54. will sanchez says:

    why does it have to be a “below market value extension” get creative x amount of years at a base salary..and plenty of incentives..for example..5 mill per season and incentives ..all star 250 k, 100 games 250 k, 125 games 250 k, 140 games 250 K, mvp voting top 5 250 k, mvp voting top 3, 500k, x amount of millions for any “war” (or any performance criteria) over 2 war, a personal service contract if unable to play..possibilities are endless..”If you want the man PAY the man” He would be an asset to the franchise. Come time to re-new media contracts..the bucs will actually “have something to sell”, a finish product..why not re-visit a “thunder and lightning” team …or the “lumber company” again.

  55. will sanchez says:

    correct..with a team knocking at the world series door…we took a step back..instead of “going for it”
    we din’t have the guts to “go for it”..

  56. will sanchez says:

    well said ..but they “passed on it”

  57. NMR says:

    What frustrates me is this is a completely self-inflicted policy, and directly responsible for this offseason of futility.

    There are legitimate arguments to be made about whether or not Huntington’s strategy this winter was wise.

    But what does not seem arguable is the that Huntington’s high risk approach to FA targets was predicated on little-to-no-risk being extended financially.

  58. NMR says:


    That question was to Jim.

    I just see so many people talking about trading Cutch before his contract is up, and I’m not sure if they all realize Marte will be a free agent the same year.

  59. cmat0829 says:

    I don’t think ANYONE who signs a contract and agrees to those terms has any right complaining about it during the course of the contract. There was no gun to the head of either the Pirates or Cutch, so the professional thing to do is to accept the terms and go from there. And there is no evidence Cutch is doing anything but.

  60. cmat0829 says:

    Perspective is an amazing thing, and something that is not often applied. The Pirates aren’t going to go bankrupt, AND the Pirates don’t have HUGE AMOUNTS of money they can spend on their roster to “go for it”. The closest thing to facts we have would indicate the Pirates TODAY can indeed spend $10-15M more on their payroll than they are currently spending…. on one hand, that’s disappointing they haven’t found a way to spend that heretofore. On the other hand, they have some flexibility to spend now or during the season…or I dare say, roll that into next year or beyond.

    I think it was the Blue Jays a few years back where the front office had a prescribed amount of $$ he could apply over a 3-4 year window. Anything he didn’t spend in year 1, rolled over, and so on.

    Is “Nutting cheap” as so many can’t wait to type? He’s certainly careful in spending $ and I have no doubt he wants to clearly understand the value he is getting for the spend. It’s kind-of a catch 22… Has NH had deals in hand that he has taken to BN and BN denied him? I don’t see any evidence of that. So it’s a little too convenient to blame anything on BN at this point.

    That said, it’s clear that NH knows what is ‘in bounds’ and what is ‘out of bounds’. He has asked Ownership what type of payroll budget he has and is likely to have and he has made many comments about the restrictions that type of budget creates.

    At the end of the day, I think NH could spend $15M more right now….and I think Nutting could even open up to $20-25M on the ‘right deal’ if he were pushed to and the deal was there to be had. I would call Nutting cheap if he forced NH to not spend the $15M so he could pocket it…. I would Nutting too conservative and shortsighted if he didn’t approve the ‘right deal’ and spend up to $25M.

    Just my two cents on $10-25M.

  61. NMR says:

    “Has NH had deals in hand that he has taken to BN and BN denied him? I don’t see any evidence of that. So it’s a little too convenient to blame anything on BN at this point.”

    I’ve seen this argument before, and every time it makes me laugh every time.

  62. Jim S. says:

    So, then maybe they ought to go ahead and cash out and let some big boys buy the team.

  63. Jim S. says:

    I actually care what happens in 3-4 years, Gunner. I hear what you are saying about trying to win right now. But, I think if they play this right they can keep that window propped open to the point that they have a chance to win for a bunch of years.

  64. Jim S. says:

    Agreed. I believe Cutch knows who is responsible for him signing that deal, and I think he is ok with it because it gave him the lifetime security he wanted. The timing did not turn out to be perfect for him, as things exploded shortly after his deal. But, I do believe he is humble enough and grounded enough to understand that he still has it pretty good, financially.

    He also knows he will get one more large bite of the apple. But, make no mistake about it, next time he will be taking a large bite if he is still an impact player – which he should be. I don’t see the Pirates being willing to pay what he will demand at that point.

  65. Jim S. says:


    I do think they will aggressively pursue extending Marte beyond the point where he and Cutch will be free agents at the same point if he has another solid year in ’14. Marte is not financially set for life, and I would think a nice deal, which might buy out a couple of years of free agency might make sense to him. At least, I hope that is in their thinking.

    As for Cutch, I am not trying to run him off. But, I see no evidence of the Bucs ever signing someone (especially someone who will command the $$ that he will) to a large, multi-year free agency deal. They have pretty much said that. So, I see them pedaling Cutch at the point where they feel he will bring the largest return. If the team is a contender, it likely would not occur in the heat of a pennant race but rather over the winter.

    In that sense, btw, the Pirates appear to be completely alone in MLB. Even Tampa signed Longoria long term. Now, maybe the team will decide that someone like Cutch is worth another contract. I just see no evidence that they will do it.

  66. Nate83 says:

    Would you sell something that continues to grow in value and continues making you money. Until there is a sign that revenue in baseball isn’t growing faster then inflation very few teams will be sold that have teams with owners that have other financially sound investments.

  67. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, NMR. If they actually were expecting to spend another $15-$20 million on this year’s team, their thinking did not need to be confined to just the deals they pursued. I don’t buy that “Well, these things we pursued didn’t work, so we have to put the money back in the wall safe behind Nutting’s desk” story.

  68. Nate83 says:

    The budget is set ahead of time. You don’t make it up as you go. Wasting your time negotiating with other GM’s only to say my boss won’t let me make that deal doesn’t seem to be how most businesses would be run. Parameters are set ahead of time by FC and Nutting. Huntington is just operating within those parameters. Did he misjudge his ability to be able to sign certain players this year and leave money on the table? I personally think he did but the season isn’t over and he will have more flexibility to make a deal during the season.

  69. Jim S. says:

    Depends, Nate. If I thought the value was as high now as it will be at any point in the forseeable future, and if I thought maybe there is a bubble that will burst not too far down the road on TV revenues … yes, I would strongly consider it.

    It appears to me that Nutting places so much emphasis on making a yearly operational profit that this is not really the business for him long term. So, he ought to consider taking the gigantic windfall that has literally fallen into his lap and move along. I don’t believe this is a year-to-year guaranteed profit kind of a business if you want to put out a successful product – not when a lot of your competitors openly proclaim that they are not in for year-to-year profits. I believe he chooses profit, and then hopes the team wins.

    I believe his investment is worth so much more right now than he put into it that this might be a very good time to cash out to someone whose intent is to break even from year to year and win every year. Maybe that is naive thinking on my part, but that is how I feel. I wish he would listen to his fans.

  70. Nate83 says:

    I’m with you on this one Jim. Obviously this is a more defined window. 3 important players have contracts ending after this year and will need to be replaced. The window me and you and my guess is the front office see’s could be a huge bay window if everything goes right but could just as easily be a small little hopper window because prospects are just that. There is not guarantee that Kerry Woods and Mark Prior wont both blow out their arms.

    Banking on the futures is risky. The Indians got a boat load of prospects for C.C. Sabathia and none of them made a difference. Florida got a nice return for Cabrera from Detroit and none of them helped later. Being a small market team I think the Pirates are doing the right thing but it doesn’t come without risk.

  71. NMR says:

    Holding onto Cutch has nothing to do with an extension, IMO. Either way…

    “So, I see them pedaling Cutch at the point where they feel he will bring the largest return.”

    What makes you think this?

  72. Nate83 says:

    I don’t know the actual numbers but if he is making money every year and the value of the team has doubled in the last 10 years and the revenue doesn’t show any sign of bursting in the next 5-10 years I can’t see him selling. Even if it levels off he is still making money every year. I don’t see a scenario where the teams value decreases by more then what he is making annually anytime in the near future.

  73. Jim S. says:

    I think that will be their M.O. If they can’t/won’t sign guys to mega-contracts, don’t you think they will try to maximize the return for them? They have decided that they need to build the team through the amateur draft, international signings and cost-effective acquisitions at the MLB level. It seems contradictory to me, given that strategy, to allow a player of the open market value of Andrew McCutchen to leave for just a draft pick in return.

    As much as Nutting values a dollar, I don’t see him allowing them to have a guy like Cutch play out his entire contract for the team and leave with so little of a return.

  74. Jim S. says:

    I think the yearly profits, strong though they may be, are nothing compared to the check that gets written to him and his partners if he sells. That is money in hand that can never be gotten unless he sells. NFL teams have similarly high values and great predicted revenue streams, yet they get sold often.

  75. Nate83 says:

    In a perfect world Jim they will be able to sign Polanco and Marte to similar team friendly deals as Cutch buying out 2 or 3 years of their free agency and have these guys through most of their prime years. Even if you trade them eventually with 2 years left on the contract you still got 7 years of a very good player instead of 4 or 5 if you didn’t give them that extension. In a way you are just extending the team control. Obviously it’s at a higher cost but with less risk then a free agent because they are still very easy to trade if the team isn’t doing well.

    If you give Loney a 3 or 4 year contract he isn’t as easy to trade and the return wouldn’t be great because of his age and the fact that he probably is the reason the team is struggling.

    Polonco and Marte seem like perfect candidates for this. Small signing bonuses, probably came from families that don’t have much. The security of 40-60 million has to seem like a dream to them. Imagine what they can do for their families.

  76. NMR says:

    Exactly. Moreso, it’s about the organizational culture set at the top.

    I have clients I know may be willing to extend a budget for the right return on investment, and I have clients I know aren’t giving me a dollar more than innitially scoped.

    I know damn well who is who, and would never be dumb enough to waste time pitching an idea when I know it has no chance of flying.

  77. Jim S. says:

    Tampa got one of the best young hitters in the game for Shields just a year and a half ago also.

  78. Nate83 says:

    I could be wrong be it seems like most of those teams where minority owners buying out another owner or estates that involved the owner being deceased and the family not being interested in keeping the franchise.

    Nutting is pretty young. I don’t see him being interested in cashing in anytime soon. I hope I’m wrong. I would love to see somebody else owning the team although I’m not sure it would make a huge difference. The new owner would still be running a business and payroll would still be close to ranking where the team does in revenue. Being 27th or wherever they rank in payroll probably isn’t where they should be based on the current team but it probably wouldn’t rank much higher then 20th no matter who was owning the team.

  79. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, Nate. I think it would be a tough sell for an agent after this season to tell Marte that this pile of money being offered, which will guarantee lifetime financial security for him/his wife/kids, plus some extended family is bad for him because if everything works out well, he could earn a lot more money by waiting a few years. Of course, he may say no. But, several Braves just said yes if that is any indication of what young players think. Cutch said yes. Boras clients usually don’t say yes, but Marte is not a Boras client. Neither is Polanco, and 2-3 years from now he may also be in line for this.

  80. NMR says:


    If all they cared about was maximizing return for players expected to leave in free agency, why are Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano still Pirates?

  81. Nate83 says:

    Because you can’t trade away a player when it’s your first chance of winning in 21 years. Also the return they would get for Liriano and Martin would be far less then the guys we are discussing. If the Pirates are 58-60 at the trade deadline and either of those guys are having good years I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if those guys are traded.

    We will learn a lot by how they handle Pedro and Walker. It really will be the first time they have trade pieces while also hopefully being competitive.

  82. Jim S. says:

    Oh, I definitely agree with you that he is not interested in selling. I was just pointing out that there is precedent that I wish he would pursue. It would not necessarily be a crazy decision.

  83. NMR says:

    I do not agree with that at all, Nate.

  84. Nate83 says:

    I knew you wouldn’t and I assume this is one I couldn’t change your mind on. It’s Friday so I willing to wave the white flag on this one.

  85. NMR says:

    Wonderful! ((Hug))

  86. Travis Sawchik says:

    ‘Cutch would likely want to test the market, but if the Pirates offered a $100 million extension and ‘Cutch knows he’s four years from free agency … and he’ll be 31 at the expiration of the current deal … is waiting worth the risk?

  87. Travis Sawchik says:

    This blog has international readership, hence GMT. …. Seriously, though, not sure what the clock issue is. I’ll look into it.

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