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.