First Pitch: Additional Proof that Andrew McCutchen is Awesome

Most of what I write on the site involves analysis. That’s usually prospect analysis, focusing on what a player could become, or player analysis in the majors, trying to focus on the value of a player and what that player might be able to do to get more value. Because of this approach, it’s hard coming up with ideas to write about Andrew McCutchen. It’s not really hard to come up with ideas. It’s just that every idea is a “here’s another example of how awesome Andrew McCutchen is”.

He’s the MVP. He’s the best player on the team. He’s the only consistent offensive player. He’s in the middle of an extension that looks like one of the best deals in sports, and has him under team control through the 2018 season. He’s still young, and just entering his prime, which means he’s got a good chance to maintain his MVP production over the next few years. He’s starting to get national exposure, appearing on video game covers, proposing on Ellen, presenting country music awards, and producing shows on MTV.

It’s hard to add anything beyond that, which means all you can do is submit that additional proof that Andrew McCutchen is awesome. Today’s additional proof that Andrew McCutchen is awesome comes from his response to a question about being a leader and giving advice to his teammates.

“I think if you want to have a kind relationship with your spouse, that’s what you have to do. Us as men, we can’t just blurt out whatever is on our mind, because that creates an argument. You have to go ‘alright, let me think about how I want to say this, because I don’t want to make her mad’. That’s kind of how things go. So as men, I really think relationships with your spouse helps when it comes with your teammates, because you want to be the same way. You want to approach them in the way, where if you have something to say, if it’s criticism, you want to come at them like ‘don’t take it the wrong way, I have something I’d like to share with you’. Share it with you in your locker, don’t share it with you in front of the whole dugout. Or in the tunnel, when it’s just you and him. Whatever it is, that creates a really good vibe for you and that person.”

I don’t know how the 13% of my audience that is female feels about that analogy, but maybe the rest of you guys will be as amused as I was. For more on Cutch, here is McCutchen from earlier in the interview, discussing his busy off-season, and what leadership means to him.

Coverage Notes

I’ve been working on getting ahead with some articles this week. Last year it was pretty overwhelming covering both the majors and the minors once minor league camp started. That will be next Monday, and I’m hoping to get at least 4-5 days ahead with articles before that happens. Fortunately I’ll be two days ahead by tomorrow afternoon. My focus while I’m down here is to have more time to work on each article, which should allow me to focus more on the quality of each article, rather than focusing on the quantity aspect in getting X amount of articles up per day. Mostly that involves trying to get as much information from as many sources as possible, and extra time definitely helps there.

So far most of the coverage has been on the majors, and all of the articles and videos have been on pitchers. That’s for the obvious reason that pitchers and catchers are the only guys who have reported. Tomorrow is the first full-squad workout, so I should start to get more videos of hitters. Next week I’ll be adding more coverage of the minor leagues once all of the prospects arrive.

Links and Notes

**With Spring Training underway, now is the perfect time to get your copy of the 2014 Prospect Guide. You can purchase your copy here, and read about every prospect in the Pirates’ system. The book includes our top 50 prospects, as well as scouting reports and future potential ratings for every player.

**Some #ElectricStuff From Charlie Morton to Charge Your Day (Video)

**Neal Huntington Talks About the Upcoming Outfield Shifts

**Stolmy Pimentel Looks Like a Favorite For the Opening Day Roster

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Roberrto21

    While this article provides “further proof” of Cutch’s awesomeness, is any really required? He is absolutely awesome across the board, both on the field and off, all you can say is that he’s a total class act. As a ballplayer, awesome talent, great bat speed, speed on the bases, speed and anticipation in the outfield, clutch, leader. And a person who carries himself with style and class. This is exactly the type of player and person you want to build a team (and sport) around. Not to mention the fantastic dreads! He is worth every cent (maybe 5 cents for every one that he is actually getting paid!) that the Pirates are paying him!!! This is one player who is a joy to watch and follow! We know it all the way over here in Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • stickyweb

      True dat R21. For a while I’ve thought the Bucs should be prepared to trade Cutch with a year or 2 left on his deal for a HUGE haul of prospects. Of course this assumes Polanco establishes himself as we expect in the next couple of years and the top OF prospects continue to progress and are ready to jump to MLB.

      But the more I see and hear of him, the more I think they should try to extend him. He is such a great young man in a game and a world where you don’t find too many of them. He may be the one exception where the Bucs actually pay market rate to retain an exceptional player with exceptional character. I think the only thing they can’t do is let him play out this contract and walk for just a comp pick. Either extend him (PLEASE) or get a lot more for him than a draft pick.

      So maybe it’s Marte or Polanco that gets dealt when the time comes. Or keep those 3 together for as long as possible and trade Meadows as he’s ready to hit the ML level. Either way it’s going to be great fun watching all of these guys develop and seeing how the Pirates end up managing the glut of talent.

  • The Masked robshelb

    .

    Roberrto,

    Your points are well made. And yes, we all love Mr. McCutchen. (Even if this is a case of Mr. Williams preaching to the choir.)

    Nevertheless, there is no joy in Mudville tonight. (Or today in your time zone.)

    Why not ??? Because those sneaky Orioles have snatched Ubaldo right out from under our finger-tips.

    Auuugggghhhhh . . .

    Quoting the news report from MLB.com —

    The move, which perhaps signifies that the Orioles are in win-now mode, is a huge boon for an organization that was incredibly quiet on the Hot Stove market.

    …last season, he seemed to regain his old form, specifically as the season progressed. He posted a 1.82 ERA in the season’s second half, while striking out 10.7 hitters per nine innings. With Cleveland in a tight Wild Card race, Jimenez went 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in six September outings — all quality starts.

    We sure could have used a relatively young pitcher who can put up an ERA under 2.00, especially in a pennant race when it comes to crunch time. Oh well, I suppose we should all at least congratulate the O’s for taking their best shot at making the 2014 post-season.

    On the other hand, good sportsmanship that it might be, right now I’m in no mood to congratulate anyone.

    Matter of fact, I think I’m going to be ill . . .

    Bummer.

    .

    • https://www.facebook.com/bruce.humbert Bruce Humbert

      If the front office could not come up with more than $12M for AJ there is no way they would even come close to what the Orioles are obligated to pay Ubaldo…

      • The Masked robshelb

        .

        Four years, $50 million. That breaks down to an average (I don’t know how the deal is structured) of $12.5 million per year. And that’s before discounting the time-value of money. Which doesn’t seem all that unreasonable in this day and age.

        Rumor was afoot shortly before this singing was announced that Jimenez was willing to settle (maybe) for 3/33.

        Which would have been $11 million per year.

        So somewhere in the $11-13 million per-year range, and locking him in for what might be four very good pitching years (ages 30 – 34). That doesn’t sound outlandish to me. Even if it does mean giving up a draft pick.

        And a lot better than offering what’s-his-name $12.5 million for one more year.

        And let’s consider last September’s. Ubaldo posted a 1.09 ERA.

        What’s-his-name’s over that same time frame was whut, around 24.58 ???

        No doubt in my mind. None whatsoever. For $12.5 million (per year), the FO clearly should’a jumped with both feet onto the Jimenez Train.

        But they didn’t.

        Oh well . . .
        .

      • The Masked robshelb
        • Cobra39

          As a Bucco fan living in Cleveland I can tell you – the Indians got a good look at Ubaldo over the last 2 years (not just the last couple months of 2013 season) and wanted no part of re-signing him.

    • stickyweb

      If a guy signs for 4/$50 mil I think you can discount any rumors that he would have settled for 3/$33. There’s no way the Bucs would touch Ubaldo or any other starter for a 4 year commitment, no matter the “bargain”. Not with Morton locked up for several years and the wave of talent coming in (Taillon, Kingham, Glasnow, Heredia). There’s just no reason to do it. Sure you could always trade him if he’s doing OK, but the chance he disappoints during this contract is just as good, and then he wouldn’t bring anything back in a trade.

      It’s such a shame the one real weakness of the Pirates, 1B, had such poor candidates in free agency. The best of the bunch was an ordinary player that preferred to stay in the Sunshine State. But that’s no reason to go throwing money at the market in posiitons you already have covered well. Save the money and go after somebody next year (Headley, Panda). I apologize for stealing the drum that Jaygray’s been beating for a month. Hopefully this doesn’t cause him to post it again nonstop for weeks :-)

      • JT Crown

        I agree totally with Sticky, there’s no reason to do it with the wave of talented pitchers like JT, Kingham, Glasnow,etc. Perhaps use that money mid season if necessary to pick up a free agent 1B.

    • cfjohnsn

      Rob,

      Just an FYI, Gerrit Cole’s September:

      5GS
      4-0 W/L
      32 IP
      1.69 ERA
      11.0 K/9
      2.8 BB/9
      3.90 K/BB
      1.063 WHIP

      All during a pennant race from a guy who was only 22/23 at the time instead of 30 like Jimenez and isn’t costing $12M/per.

      Oh, and you can also throw in 2 playoff starts where he put up:

      1-1
      11 IP
      2.45 ERA
      8.2 K/9
      1.6 BB/0
      5.0 K/BB
      0.636 WHIP

      I’ll take the latter all day, every day.

  • emjayinTN

    Additional proof we know he is awesome – 5 years, $101 mil extension through age 36. $6 mil Bonus, lock in the option year, salary schedule like a bell curve maxing out in mid years, and decreasing in years 34 and beyond. He is the youngest of the threesome of he, Ryan Braun, and Evan Longoria, and they have similar deals with their clubs to keep them through their mid-30’s.

    • Cato the Elder

      Braun and Longiria were much further away from free agency when they signed those deals. McCutchen would get way more than that in free agency. After signing one of the worst contracts in sports (from his perspective) why would he be inclined to give any home town discounts?

      • NorCal Buc

        Cato ~ I believe Andrew would resign with the Bucs “with a hometown discount” because of the very qualities that have been espoused in this column; the qualities that we all love in the man.

        Andrew has his priorities in life. He knows he has as much money as a man ever needs to live a comfortable life; his dough is more than likely invested in securities and commodities that will simply grow tremendously over the years. Andrew understands that playing this sport for this amount of money is a privilege, and not a right.

        We “know” Andrew’s parents, especially his mother, as the guiding set of principles that makes Andrew, well…

        Andrew is a principled man; he will do the honorable thing, guided by his inner core.

        In a country, as well as the field of professional sports, that is far too self-absorbed and self-righteous, it is SO refreshing to find an athlete who understands the responsibility he has to his wife, his teammates and to the community that has adopted him.

        Simply stated, Andrew McCutchen will do the right thing.

        • Cato the Elder

          Wishful thinking. He can be a good-guy-leader anywhere. 29 other teams would have him in a heartbeat. He doesn’t owe Pittsburgh anything and he wouldn’t be any worse of a person for taking the money. (That would be the responsible thing to do for his family, not to mention the other players in the union). The only people who would feel burned by that decision are those fans who feel that he has “a responsibility…to the community that adopted him” beyond fulfilling his contract and providing his team great value while treating those fans great baseball during that time.

          TL;DR: He’d be absolutely nuts for less than Jayson Werth money.

  • skliesen

    You make a good point Emjay. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if an extension is offered and signed. Cutch comes across as the type who would prefer to spend his whole career w Pirates. And despite all the criticism Nutting receives for being cheap, I believe he is wise about how the money is spent. And to me it looks like a wise investment.

    • emjayinTN

      sk: Thanks, and the points made about Nutting are right on – the guy gets it. He may not be steeped in the inner workings of Baseball, but he has FC and NH to handle the heavy lifting, and Bob Nutting is a businessman. He sees the increase in the worth of the franchise after the 2013 season, the national TV Market starting to open, the extension with Root Sports less than 4 years off, and he is sitting on one of the biggest PR draws in the game right now. The Pirates were selected to have 2 games that will be televised nationally this year, and possibly more?

      Aside to Cato – I read your response as you agree, but think he could possibly get more in the FA Market? I agree, but this is a Pirate Superstar and I think the $6 mil bonus will make up for a lot of the substance of the present contract, and the remaining $95 mil can spread out nicely to lessen the “possible FA gap in money” and possibly influence him to make Pittsburgh his home for his entire career. IMO, a guaranteed contract now is much, much better than a “possible” FA contract 4 years from now.

  • glassers

    Andrew McCutchen is wise beyond his years !!!!

  • dcpinpgh

    cutch is awesome, because he just called out AJ, without calling out AJ.

  • jon6er

    Would love to see him finish his career with the Pirates with a few WS wins, the reputation and respect of a ” Pops ” and a first vote HOF entry. I think Andrew is capable of all that from his end but I just don’t the Pirates will be able to make it happen from their end. Unless John Galbreath and Joe Brown come back from the dead that won’t happen.

  • dr dng

    Ok,

    I hope I am not criticized for this one, but I’m going to ask.

    I am old enough to remember, “the great one” when he was young.

    He and Andrew are definitely different people, but both good people

    Is anyone willing to just side by side compare baseball skills?

    What do you think?

    Don’t you wish, just one time, they could shake hands?
    -