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.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”