Andrew McCutchen talking long-term extension with Pirates

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Andrew McCutchen declined to give any specifics when asked yesterday, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are discussing a long-term contract extension with the 24-year-old center fielder.

McCutchen won’t be arbitration eligible until 2013, so to buy out any of his free agent years a contract extension would have to go through at least 2016.

He’s off to a slow start this season, but McCutchen began his career with back-to-back All-Star caliber seasons and his .816 OPS since debuting in 2009 trails only Torii Hunter (.825) and Matt Kemp (.823) among all MLB center fielders.

As a career .281 hitter with 20-homer power, 30-steal speed, and strong defense at an up-the-middle position McCutchen is among the best long-term building blocks in the league and told Kovacevic that he’d love to stay in Pittsburgh for his “whole career”:

I really love it in Pittsburgh. I love playing there. I love the city. I love how things are starting to turn around for us. That’s one of the things I feel that they know, and they have the same feeling I do. We’re very open to working something out, but we just want to make sure it’s something we want. That’s basically what we’re looking at right now.

Based on recent precedent for young outfielders signing long-term deals at similar stages in their service time, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors speculates that the Pirates will offer McCutchen a six-year deal worth around $50 million.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.