Late last night Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates announced a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension and now Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has the year-by-year breakdown:
2012: $0.5 million, plus $1.25 million signing bonus
2013: $4.5 million
2014: $7.25 million
2015: $10 million
2016: $13 million
2017: $14 million
2018: $14.75 million option or $1 million buyout
The extension pre-pays for McCutchen’s three arbitration-eligible seasons and buys out his first two years of free agency while giving the Pirates a $14.75 million option for his third year of free agency in 2018, when he’ll be 31 years old. If McCutchen stays healthy and his production doesn’t decline the Pirates will end up with quite a bargain, but snagging $51.5 million in guaranteed money at age 24 is pretty tough to turn down when he’s made “only” $1 million or so thus far.
As our own Matthew Pouliot pointed out last night McCutchen’s six-year deal is nearly identical to six-year deals signed previously by Jay Bruce and Justin Upton, and all three outfielders were first-round picks in the 2005 draft.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.