Pirates “optimistic” about Andrew McCutchen extension

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Pirates GM Neal Huntington told fans at Saturday’s PirateFest that he is “optimistic” about signing Andrew McCutchen to a long-term extension before the 25-year-old center fielder reaches free agency.

This according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

McCutchen isn’t eligible for salary arbitration until after the 2012 season and won’t hit free agency until the winter of 2015, so the Bucs aren’t in a great hurry quite yet. But they’ll do their best, once the time comes, to ensure that the face of their franchise is not exposed to the open market. Here’s Huntington:

“When you enter a negotiation, you’re at X, the player’s at Z and you work awfully hard to try to find Y. There has to be a compromise, there has to be a shared risk on both sides.”

McCutchen batted .259/.364/.456 with 23 home runs, 89 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 678 plate appearances this past year for the 72-90 Pirates. Through three major league seasons, he owns an .822 career OPS.