Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 Top Prospects: #2 – Austin Meadows

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Willy Garcia, RF
19. Clay Holmes, RHP
18. Mitch Keller, RHP
17. Max Moroff, 2B
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP
15. Cole Tucker, SS
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP
13. Steven Brault, LHP
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP
11. Kevin Newman, SS
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
9. Nick Kingham, RHP
8. Elias Diaz, C
7. Reese McGuire, C
6. Harold Ramirez, OF
5. Alen Hanson, 2B
4. Jameson Taillon, RHP
3. Josh Bell, 1B

We continue the countdown with the number 2 prospect, Austin Meadows.

2. Austin Meadows, OF

When Meadows was drafted, he drew a lot of comparisons to Jay Bruce, due to his raw power potential, and the fact that he would likely end up in right field. So far the power hasn’t shown up consistently, although there have been some positive signs in his first two full seasons. He missed a lot of time with hamstring injuries in 2014, but was healthy in 2015 had great numbers in Bradenton.

The Pirates had Meadows shorten up his swing this year and focus on his rhythm in the box, leading to an extremely quick bat through the zone, with a compact swing path that allows him to start swinging later, giving more time to recognize breaking pitches. He had issues with that in the past, but he wasn’t fooled by many breaking pitches in 2015, and improved his strikeout numbers.

Meadows had a lot of success in a limited time in Altoona at the end of the year. He went to the AFL, where he was hitting the ball hard, but having some bad luck. He capped off his experience with a big home run in the Fall Stars Game, and started getting national attention as a top prospect with a lot of power potential due to his quick swing.

The Pirates have no need for an outfielder any time soon, which means they can take their time with Meadows. He’s got the range to be a center fielder, but projects for left field in the future since his arm strength falls behind the guys currently in the majors. He could be the eventual replacement for Andrew McCutchen, and if his power develops as expected, he could continue the string of impact outfielders to make their way through the current farm system into Pittsburgh.

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  • I think all the folks speculating on Cutch requiring $30M a year to sign in 2018 are nuts. He’s already in decline, and his 2018 salary will be largely dependent on his 2016-2017 numbers, not a reward for the numbers of his youth.

    MLB teams have shown pretty dramatically the last two seasons that they aren’t as willing to pay older players anymore in the post-PED era. They’ve all done the math, and they’ve all seen that the value isn’t there. They’re willing to throw large contracts at 25yo players, but they’re just not interested in signing up for dead money deals with 31 year old hitters any more.

    Cutch was 19th in WAR last year. He may still finish in the top-25 each of the next two years. But he’s no longer an MVP candidate. The wheels aren’t there and there are too many defenders that are far superior. If the Pirates want to re-sign him to a 5-year deal in 2018 to close out his career, I doubt there will be bidders above $18-20m/yr as competition.

  • Meadows or McCutchen arm?

  • Please see my rediculous string of comparing Bell and Meadows below.

    Also on the Bell thread:

    • I’m certainty no scout, but I’ve always thought Bell’s hands were always high in the load position, which seems to give him an upper cutish swing? which maybe results in him getting to the ball late, producing alot of ground balls, and only when he hits it on time, correlates the timing for a line drive? I’d love to see him drop the hands lower in the load position to have a more even swing plane. Just my opinion though. All hitters are different and have different comfort zones and feels so it could be that.

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv2LuC8Pc0c

        And certaintly not to give Jacoby Jones credit or whatever, but they both start off with their hands in the same starting zone, yet Jacoby gets his hands a bit below the shoulders when loading, and Bell’s stay up. Just a thought.

        • Watched further, Meadows is the prototypical swing of how you teach younger ones to hit. No movement in the before stance, hands are low already set and a quick straight swing to the ball. Is this not everything we see in scouting reports of why meadows is way more polished? I’d really like to know what everyone else thinks.

          • Oh and while i’m on this rant, I can’t believe they are using pitching machines for BP. Growing up, I thought pitching machines were the best way to completely screw up a hitters timing, step and load. I mean really, they can’t find some arms to live throw? But, what do I know.

          • Meadows has a terrific short level through the zone swing. Watching Bell lunging around from the right side is a concern. Here is what struck me when they were in the cage together. Bell is listed as 6’2” 237lbs. Meadows is listed as 6’2” 213. In the cage Bell looks huge compared to Meadows. Not just bulk but much taller. Are the Meadows stats a reach or are my eyes playing tricks. Bell is massive.

            • Don’t worry, Meadows is plenty big, but Bell looks almost like a football player in person.

            • Honestly I thought they both looked the same. I’ve even seen scouting reports list Bell at 6’4,and Meadows taller as well. Same as all scouting reports, buff them up. Both are prob 6-2 but no, I think him and Meadows look pretty similar. Not quite sure where you were going with the post though?

              • Thanks for posting this……watching Meadows live at the same time as Jones and Bell really highlights the beauty of his swing. Very quick, very efficient. With the benefit of morning coffee I notice that the camera is set up to the left side of the plate. This led to my exaggerated conclusion about the comparative size of Bell and Meadows.

  • I was reading through the Cutch blog (I mean Meadows article) thread and two opposing thoughts occur to me:
    OPTION #1: Trade him prior to his contract runs out because you really can’t let a 7.0 WAR hitter walk with only supplemental draft pick in return. Problem would be when:
    – Trade him at 2017 deadline if we’re losing, but there would be no productive (3-WAR) replacement for 2017. Meadows (or someone else) would need to be ready in 2018.
    – Trade him 2017 offseason. Again, Meadows, Ramirez, Barnes, or Garcia would have to ready to produce.
    – Trade him at the 2018 deadline if we’re losing – no brainer but If we’re in the hunt (which we want to be), he ends up walking (hopefully after a WS) for that supplemental pick
    OPTION #2: Keep him as long as you can because you really can’t replace a “once in a lifetime,” “middle of the lineup,” 7.0 WAR hitter. He impacts the entire lineup (i.e. the 1/2 hitters see more fastballs, the number 4/5 hitters often have Cutch and/or others on base). As a result, I would look at a mini restructuring right now. We are under our budget in 2016 and banking on a lot of rookies in 2017/18. Offer him $20 million/year for 5 years. He gets an extra $18 million over the next three years to offset his under payment in 2019/2020

    • OPTION 1: Contract runs through ’18, not ’17.

      OPTION 2: Still hoping for a discount…after his walk year in ’18, he could still draw ~150M/6. With what the Pirates owe him…that makes him, at least, a $200M player. Even if the Pirates give him a $10M bump for each of his last 3 seasons and your $80/4…that’s asking him to recoup $50M over 3 years as a 35 year old OF. Don’t know that he’s going to want to run the risk that the bat and legs can hold out that long.

      If I’m Cutch’s agent, I’m telling him to hold on for FA and try to score a Pujols like deal (at the same age Albert went into FA)….10/250.

      • Sorry I corrected that less than a minute after I submitted – not sure why you’re still seeing the old post. Also, I am not saying he should accept, just that we should offer the 5/year $100 mil option going from 2016 through 2020.

        • Site’s jinky every once in awhile….

          I’ve noticed that sometimes you just can’t edit posts…have to refresh the page before doing so….sometimes more than once.

          I caught your post about an hour after it was uploaded and it still listed ’17….

          Anyway, I don’t think there’s any way Cutch takes an extension through ’20. Giving up two more FA seasons and finally hitting the market at 34? That’s not going to happen. If there’s any type of extension, every agent in the world would make sure it covers a minimum of 4 years and is probably shoot for 6.

          • I do think you are correct but there is a chance he goes for guaranteed money – he did it before.

    • who is this mythical 7 WAR player you are talking about – Cutch is now on the down side of 5 and falling. But that really doesn’t matter – he will get $30M AAV for at least 3 years when his contract expires – and that does not fit into the Pirate budget.

      • I’m talking only about his hitting WAR – 7.1 is his average over the past 4 years. And I am making an assumption that the knee injury early last year was the cause of his dip in value.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    February 4, 2016 8:16 pm

    I have yet to see Meadows play, but that will change this year – since he will likely start the season in Altoona. For those who have seen him in person, which current or past ML player does Meadows most remind you of or seem to be a similar player?

    • I only saw him play a handful of games, and as I normally don’t like to compare one player to another, I can’t say right now. But I can tell you he has as good a swing as I have seen in quite some time.

  • or we could trade him for a #3 starter and a 4th outfielder and go to the world series this year and next………..mostly kidding, but its not that big of a reach

    • I would change your 4th outfielder to a real SS – time for the Mercer era to end – but yes – there is a scenario that makes this years team better if they can get the right return for the MVP…

      • I’ve said it a billion times and I’ll throw it out once more…

        Profar is blocked, Mazara has never contributed…if the Rangers toss in DeShields Jr. as a swap of CF’s, I’d listen if I were NH.

        • OK, that’s one I’d jump at even after what I said above!

          • Honestly, the #5 MLB prospect, a former top prospect with slight injury concerns, and a guy that had a nice rookie season, but won’t put up anything close to Cutch’s numbers and would be blocked by his acquisition?

            I don’t think that would be a reach in an asking price.

            • Only problem I see is that if the trade were made *right now*, I think it would be too light of a return for the Pirates and if it were made after 2017 it would be too light for the Rangers.

              That sort of package, though, in whatever 2017 form it would take, is exactly the type of thing the Pirates should be shooting for. One star prospect, plus upside fillers. Not four+ marginal prospects. If I see one more quantity over quality trade from Huntington I’ll scream.

              • Overall…I agree…so, when I say he should be traded…this is the type of aggressive return I have going on in the back of my mind.

                You may see this as a little light now…and it very well may be…but I’d prefer just this over “let’s get 5 prospects back from the bottom half of their top 30”.

                No, if you’re going to trade a star for prospects, you get vicious potential in return.

                I just wish the team had something to swap the D’Backs…then again…might be too late, Stewart may have already given away the entire farm system 🙂

                • I said it half-jokingly last week, I think, but I would absolutely consider that a missed opportunity.

                  Copallela has been able to get more talent from Stewart alone than Huntington got back in the entire rebuilding process. I realize this is one of those things a lot easier said than done, but my goodness. So much talent given away!

              • What about Profar, Mazara, and Dillon Tate? That would make NH think long and hard…(phrasing).

                • Mannnn…I still feel like you need a bit more certainty when giving ~15 WAR or so on a contract as cheap as Cutch’s while at the very top of the win curve…or at least be convinced Profar’s shoulder can still throw baseballs. Cole Hamels was just able to pull Thompson, Alfaro, and Williams for instance.

                  But that is an *extremely* tempting start.

      • Bruce- if i thought we could get a strong shortstop and a #3 pitcher for him- we’d take it. I think you might be overvaluing him a little. We would be lucky to get a shortstop of a tier lower than him and nothing else based on the extra value of a shortstop. I was being a tad more realistic

  • For everybody advocating a Cutch for major league ready prospects trade in the next two years, remember how prospects Brandon Moss, Andy LaRoche, Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris worked out for the Bucs in return for Jason Bay. At the time those prospects were viewed by many as a great return. Robert Pace on Fox has posted an interview with Huntington who now calls it the worst deal he ever made. Claims he revamped their entire evaluation methodology as a result. Great prospects often don’t even become regulars, and Cutch may be the best we will see here for decades. I say watch the health and the performance for decline and re-evaluate after 2017. But never close the door on an offer….for anyone.

    • I am sorry – did ANYONE win this trade – arguably the Bucs might have had an edge had the held on to Moss – would have kept them from some stupid moves like Ike Davis and Mike Morse and Sean Hurdle…

      But this was bad for everybody – Bay never really did anything worth celebrating after he left Pittsburgh and the Bucs got a lot of garbage back – but that is what prospects are – high risk – high reward.

      • Bay had a great year for the Red Sox the next year. Huntington later said he had a different offer where the prospects turned out better…but who knows. I am only pointing out trading Cutch for prospects….even organization # 1s who have performed really well at the AAA level comes with the risk they won’t do it in the ML.

        • We are in violent agreement – one of my favorite factoids is that we have ONE #1 draft pick in the HOF. Baseball is so different from football – my stats friends would say the Beta for Baseball prospects is exponentially higher than football. If you draft a first rounder in Football you will get something in return – in baseball you never know.

          • And you would think the college kids with four years of performance at a great baseball school would do a lot better making the majors…but it is still problematic. I’ve always thought that the ability to hit major league pitching is a unique skill, no matter how “athletic” the player.

            • I recall reading around the time of the Michael Jordon baseball experiment that the two hardest things to do in sports were hit a major league curve ball and make a shot on goal in hockey while skating at full speed. Hitting a fast ball is hard – but a lot of guys can eventually time it at hit it – but a good curve ball in the upper 80s is two to three times harder [at least] to get good contact on.

      • Don’t you think Moss got plenty of opportunities in Pittsburgh ? Sooner or later a player has to produce when he gets the chances, and Moss never did. He also was in the Phillies system after that and still never produced till he got to Oakland.

      • Bay played 200 games for the Sox before FA…hit 45 HRs, drove in 156, and had on OPS > .910. They did alright.

        It was Manny’s walk year…in 53 games with the Dodgers, he put up 17 HRs, 53 RBI, and had an OPS of 1.232.

        There were two clear winners in that three team trade.

        • Fair enough – but I don’t think anyone thought Bay would decline as fast as he did – Heck he is only 37 years old NOW and hasn’t played in two year – don’t think he has ever officially retired.

    • The writer made Huntington sound like he was talking out of both sides of his mouth in that interview. Great return, but it was so bad that it made the org revamp their entire process?

      More accurately, Huntington *thought* it was a great return in the moment, mostly based on old scouting reports. There were plenty of baseball people saying that the prospect shine had already begun to wear off LaRoche and Morris, in particular.

      This was an offshoot of that silly trade-for-all-the-shitty-first-round-picks strategy that permeated those early years.

  • I’d like to hear current comparisons to Clint Frazier/Meadows since they were both compared to before the draft. Also how’s Mark Appel doing? I think we were better off with Meadows…

    • Frazier/Meadows comparisons weren’t/aren’t entirely based on on-field play, they grew up close to each other and played on a lot of travel teams together as kids but they play different positions and both are still high level prospects in their respective systems. I agree that the Bucs are better off with Meadows over Appel but in terms of unsigned draft picks I’d much rather have Trae Turner than Appel in the system.

    • Frazier has a lot of swing and miss in his game at this point.

      • Javy Baez too lazy of a comp for you? Freakish bat speed/contact problems make me think of him most.

        • Ive only seen Frazier with a bat twice. He doesn’t have Baez’s power when he hits the ball.

  • I know this article is about Meadows, but it appears Cutch and Meadows are linked, at least in the minds of most. I don’t think automatically replacing Cutch with Meadows makes sense.

    A while ago Neil Weinberg at fangraphs looked at the free agents that might have been this year. McCutchen would have been one if he hadn’t signed his extension.


    Cutch is signed through 2018. Using the aging curve that they use the article, Cutch will be worth about 15.8 WAR in the seasons 2019-2022. The Pirates have 4 guys we know about who could reasonably be expected to be in the OF in 2019. Marte, Polanco, Meadows, Ramirez. What are the odds that 3 of those 4 are better than Cutch’s projected 15.8 wins from 2019-2022? Just from an on-the-field perspective, it seems likely that Cutch will still be the best baseball option in those years.

    (FWIW, KATOH currently projects Meadows for 6.6 WAR through age 28)


    I understand there’s the financial side, too, but from a baseball side, I don’t think it makes sense to let Cutch leave.

    Then, there’s the fact that Nutting wants to keep Cutch a Pirate forever: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/pittsburgh-pirates-owner-wants-andrew-mccutchen-pirate-for-life-forever-bob-nutting-nl-mvp-contract-extension-012216

    So, I propose they extend Cutch now. In fact, use some of the money they are not spending this season and front load his contract. Instead of the $41.8M over the next 3 years, pay him $75M ($20-$25-$30) over the next 3 years and then go $15-$12-$10-$10.

    This way he gets paid for being good now, and they can still afford him if he drops off later.

    • First, I would say the WAR prediction for Meadows is very conservative…

      But what this seems to ignore though, is the return that would be gotten for Cutch.

      If, hypothetically, they received 12 WAR from 19-22 in return for Cutch and you factor in the low 6.6 from Meadows….

      Meadows + prospects from Cutch > Cutch.

      • I think the WAR estimate for Meadows is conservative because he’s a AA prospect. If he excels at AA or AAA again, then his projection will go up.

        If you are talking about trading Cutch early rather than letting him walk, then it becomes even harder to replace him, because these next few years should be on the peak, & mainly pre-decline. You may well get some prospects, but you would also be giving up 5+ wins per season and asking a rookie to replace them.

        • A rookie plus returns….I’d be hard-pressed to believe the Pirates wouldn’t get back ML ready talent. I wouldn’t be shocked by a solid backend starter and a blocked MI ready to play plus two-blue chippers at A+/AA.

          Yes, they’d be losing a force in one position, but, hypothetically, upgrading in others.

          Letting him walk for a #30-40 draft pick? Not as enticing. Extending him into his mid/late 30s? I really don’t like that idea either.

      • Blaine/Arik: I do not know if I would trade McCutch based upon future WAR of replacements especially for prospects. Look at ours 2012 Barrett Barnes, 2013 Austin Meadows, 2014 Cole Tucker and 2015 Kevin Newman. That’s 4 first round picks and they still would not give you what Andrew will. I would trade all of the above for a 10 year extension for Andrew and watch him play into retirement. It’s an opinion but I have seen 20-30 top picks who do not even get a drink of water in the big’s. We have become jaded by the realism that we can’t spend money and we are hoping the farm system will help. I would not place that bet.

        • The difference is…you wouldn’t be trading for draft picks…they’d be getting back guys already in the minors and well into the developmental process…so it would be quite a bit easier to judge the potential of the return instead of the crapshoot the draft often turns out to be.

          • That Jason Bay trade for MLB ready top prospects was a disaster, potential does not equate to MLB performance. In fact the failure rate of top MLB prospects, even after years of development is surprisingly high.

            • Yup…Bay was a bad one…very bad. Disastrous. No doubt about it. Won’t deny that for a second.

              On the other hand….

              When he was traded in 2008…his contract ran through 2009.

              The Pirates finished ’08 at 67-95 and ’09 at 62-99.

              Bay signed with the Mets for 4/66 with 14M option. The Pirates weren’t going to resign him and they were going nowhere with him. So, trading him wasn’t the wrong thing to do…it’s just the return was lacking…severely.

              Cutch is a different animal. Unless he’s feeling abundantly generous, the Pirates aren’t going to resign him, either. However, they’re a contending team…not a team pushing 100 losses…so it’s a little more dangerous.

              What’s of incredible importance if he’s traded, and I think he should be, is the Pirates have someone ready to take his place….and the scouts better do a damned good job. Not every prospect is going to pan out, but if the Pirates get 3-4 for him, the majority better…so NH better have his evaluation game set to eleven.

          • Blaine If they spend the money they could keep Cutch. I would rather have him then what he would return, IMO

            • Not to be too dick-y. But, yeah. If they spend enough money, they could pretty much have anyone they want.

              And Cutch right now? Yeah, I’d vote for keeping him unless the return was overwhelming. But Cutch 5, 6, or 7 years from now for ~$24M+? No…in my opinion…just too much to invest in a guy that’ll be declining.

              We shall see though…it’ll be interesting.

    • “Then go 15-12-10-10.”

      Its at that point i think Cutch balks pretty hard at the offer. He gets roughly 2 years of that deal at near market value, and the rest is either a good or giant friendly deal. I think you gotta go closer to 30 each of the next 3 years to get close to something like that to work for him.

      As far as Nutting wanting Cutch to be a Pirate, he and NH can say that with all honesty while still likely being aware that they arent gonna pay to meet his demands if he pushes full value. Easy enough to want it but also not pay out the nose for it.

      • Cutch, nor Cole have any chance of being extended simply because overall payroll has no chance of getting to the point where Huntington would commit that much to one player and despite what Nutting blabs to the media, it’s not in his nature to meddle in personnel decisions. A massive contract like the one that Cutch and Cole will sign with *someone* are the kind that gets negotiated with the owner, not just the GM.

        It’ll never happen.

      • peanutbutterguts
        February 4, 2016 4:21 pm

        I am honestly not sure that I would even want the Pirates to sign Cutch past 2018. I wish he were signed through 2020 instead of 2018 but even with that being the case, the kind of money he will get combined with his age just doesn’t seem like a wise investment . It’s rare for an athlete to spend his entire career with one team. If Pujols can leave STL, then anyone can go anywhere.

      • you really think if is possible to spend $30M of a a $100M payroll on a guy who is in decline and can’t field his position…


        • peanutbutterguts
          February 4, 2016 9:13 pm

          There are probably many reasons someone could claim Bob Nutting is cheap but giving a 30 yr old 170+ million should not be one of them.

        • Did you give DK your profile password?

          Or do you really wanna argue that we wont raise payroll 2 years from now when we are actually discussing paying the player this money? Not hard to imagine them continuing to increase payroll….since they’ve done it every year since 2010.

          • Not hard to imagine? First of all, we’ve yet to see them raise payroll this year, and most importantly, where is this additional revenue coming from?

            I thought they were spending every dime they brought in?

            Even a $120m payroll, which they’ve never come close to showing signs they’re willing to fund, would leave Cutch taking up a quarter of resources at $30m.


            • Started last year at 90. Currently sit just north of 90.

              We’ve seen them raise payroll this year, and they’ve spent at the deadline consistently. So no, its not hard to see them continue to raise payroll.

              • Again, where is this revenue coming from?

                The only reason you saw 20%+ increases for several years is because they very clearly underfunded the roster during the rebuilding years. That’s already started to slow.

                In order to ramp up anywhere close to being able to afford Cutch, where is this revenue coming from? Massive TV contract in 2019? Massive rise in ticket prices? More evidence of them under-funding payroll even now?

                • “More evidence of under-funding”

                  Actually, the next time someone provides clear evidence of them purposefully underfunding the team will be the first. Its all conjecture and half the picture examples. They likely wont throw tons at Cutch for logical reasons, but “we can never afford that” isnt something that actually makes sense.

              • And the Mets are at $150M and the Cubs at $135M – Huntington has done a good job putting tighter a $95M team – but that won’t cut it in 2016.

                • It might not, but when you make that comment every single year you dont exactly get the benefit of the doubt.

                  I saw you post the same comment this time last year. Wont cut it for 2015, cant hang with STL and expect to contend on this payroll.

                  Do you actually think another 10-15 million on the payroll makes us clearly better than CHC or NYM? Nothing we did this offseason apart from spending 20-30 million more than we did would give us a shot to be clear favorites over those two teams.

    • It’s not just the direct replacement and any assets gained (draft pick, prospects or other assets in a trade), but what is done with the saved money which will factor into that decision. Can the Pirates get 15.8 WAR out of Meadows plus whatever they spend Cutch’s money on from 2019-22, plus cover the lost value of being able to localize that value in a single asset?

      Net, they’d probably have to get about 5-6 WAR/year from Meadows and whatever of the $20+ million per year they can afford to allocate elsewhere. If Meadows is a 2-win player, and if the Pirates only spend $10 million of that money, odds are they don’t get there. If Meadows is a 3-4 win player, they could probably be close with that $10 million. If they spend all of the money they aren’t spending on Cutch (which seems unlikely to me), they should probably maximize the team in that year.

      If they trade Cutch with a year left on his deal, though, it will be nearly impossible to get back what they’re giving up in value. Taking the draft pick (if qualifying offers are even still a thing at that point) while getting the full value of Cutch’s current extension seems to me like the best option.

      Of course, since most revenue teams get is from TV, if the Pirates get a better TV deal, there’s a chance payroll actually does expand enough to make a competitive offer to Cutch, and if there’s also a DH, the best choice will obviously be to extend Cutch and have Meadows on the team at the same time.

      All of this leads me to one reasonable course of action in 2016: do nothing. Without knowing exactly what the economic and legislative environment of the league will be once Cutch’s contract expires, and since we’ll have a better idea at that point of what kind of Major Leaguer Meadows will be (including far more reliable KATOH projections), making a decision on Cutch’s extension now is very academic. Obviously, it’s still fun to talk about, but ultimately we don’t know enough about the 2018-9 offseason to make a good decision on what to do with Cutch.

    • Of more concern is what the project for the first baseman of the future – what a waste of $5M IMHO

  • Right around this time last year Tim & Co did a couple excellent articles on similar swing changes the Pirates were advising both Meadows and McGuire to make. The goal was to lower their hands, allowing them to get the bat into the zone quicker and attack the ball at a better angle.

    Meadows took to the changes immediately, and improved what was already the prettiest swing in the system and arguably in all of the lower minors. Results followed; despite aggregate numbers held down by the FSL, his contact ability improved, scouts raved about his ability to adjust to better pitching and he reduced his groundball rate by about 8% from the previous year. Kid is going to hit, period.

    McGuire, on the other hand, regressed back to previous hand position and saw zero improvement in either counting stats, metrics, or batted ball distribution. Compare video from Tim’s article to ’15 MiLB video released last week:


  • Here is hoping Meadows makes it hard on the Front Office to be patient…
    Gets off to a great start at Altoona – then moves to Indy in June. IF the Pirates are not in contention at the trade deadline the Buster Olney Plan gets triggered. Package up Cutch for ton of prospects and maybe a bullpen piece and move on the Meadows era…

    The only way the Bucs can keep Cutch is they ratchet up their payroll budget to $125M or more – failing that they will need to get the biggest haul possible for him either at the deadline or in the next offseason

    • I would hope you meant to say “prospects” and not “projects”…

    • I don’t disagree that, as his contract winds down, Cutch’s most valuable impact on the team is most likely as a trade chip as opposed to an on-field contributor, but I think this season is probably too soon.

      Trade deadline ’17? More realistic.

      However, you just went nuclear and imma just gonna enjoy the fallout. 🙂

      • See, by punting on ’16 don’t they *HAVE* to keep Cutch through next year. Unfathomable to deal him during a pennant race and thereby not taking advantage of his last two years of control.

        May as well have never extended him in the first place at that point.

        • If they’re out of it and if they’ve got realistic replacement…I wouldn’t be opposed to it this season. But those are pretty two big ‘ifs’.

          The deadline deals are scary…but that’s also when he’s going to have his most value.

          To be honest, and it’s no surprise, I wouldn’t be opposed to it today if the package was right….and, yes, I keep looking at Texas and dream of a return centered around Profar and Mazara.

          • Oof, I would be absolutely livid if Cutch were traded a day before the end of the 2017 season. Not without taking a serious shot at a title while he’s in uniform.

            The Pirates “window” certainly won’t “shut” once Cutch leaves, but don’t make this more difficult than it is….Andrew McCutchen is a *generational* talent. We’ll be lucky if another Pirate approaches his ability in the next 20+ years. The Pirates simply will never have an easier time winning a championship without Cutch as they will with him.

            • You lost me with the ‘day before end of 2017’…not sure what that was in reference to.

              I agree on his talent level. No doubt. Which is why I think the haul would be monstrous. While I’m quite sure the odds of the team getting a player back as good as he are quite long, if his exit filled two holes longterm, it would have the chance to balance….i.e., if they were to get the guys mentioned above (and they panned out), the drop between Cutch and Nomar should be made up for by the gain by going from Mercer to Profar.

              We shall see though…it will be interesting what happens over the next two seasons…maybe this more than next.

              • The history of all of sports is absolutely littered with teams trying (and failing) to trade a dollar and get back 4 quarters. I want no part of trading Cutch until it’s the last resort.

                • Ha, yes!

                • I don’t disagree. But the question is when is it the last resort?

                  And that’s a serious question.

                  Is it if he won’t sign a team friendly extension?

                  Is it heading into his walk season when his trade value will be extremely low?

                  If ^^^ that is the answer, do you move him a few months earlier at the ’17 deadline when desperate teams will give you a much better return? I.e., do you grab an extra blue-chipper who you’ll control for almost 7 seasons and the cost is a 1/2 season of Cutch?

                  Seriously, I don’t have the answers…we can all pontificate until our fingertips are bleeding…but this is why they pay NH the big bucks. The only thing I can guarantee is this…if he’s traded…fans are going to explode…and we really won’t know if it’s the right call for, at least, a season or two or three.

                  As I’ve said…the next couple of years are going to be very interesting.

              • “If they’re out of it and if they’ve got realistic replacement…I wouldn’t be opposed to it this season.”

                After previously saying you’d be interested in trading him at the deadline in ’17.

                Neither are good ideas, IMO.

                And while the whole theory around trading a star like Cutch sounds great on blogs, can you think of a team that has actually executed this plan? Traded a star player for a haul that eventually led them to a pennant or world series?

                I very much believe in the old saying that the team *receiving* a star player almost always gets the better end of a baseball trade. And frankly, I want Huntington nowhere near this deal.

                • Man we are seriously sympatico on this one NMR

                • Ah, here’s the downside of the internet…

                  Sorry for the lack of clarity.

                  By saying mid-’17 I was referencing the original post saying “when Meadows is ready, Cutch should be traded at the deadline”.

                  It was meant to be more of a comment on when I believed Meadows would be ready than when Cutch should be traded.

                  If Cutch is to be traded…and, I’d argue, he should when is the best time?

                  If the Pirates are out of it this season…maybe. Trading him now would basically be conceding the season. If the return was high enough…considering the challenges we assume the team is going to have…a deal today probably wouldn’t be the worst thing for the longterm health of the club. Of course, it would cause a fan revolt…

                  If they’re out of it at mid-season? That’s tricky too. By ‘suitable replacement’, I don’t mean someone just as good as Cutch…but the thought of plugging Jason Rogers in the outfield is also pretty damned scary. As well, if you deal Cutch in July…you probably don’t stop there. What’s the need for Cervelli? Melancon? In other words, dealing Cutch at the deadline just starts the fire sale…Of course, it would cause a fan revolt.

                  Next winter? Meh, maybe. Of course if the Pirates do, somehow, make the playoffs this season…trading him might be a near-impossibility considering they should be better next season. So, if he’s kept through next season…his value really drops the following winter because any team getting him is only getting a one-year rental and a draft pick. In fact, his value would probably be higher at the deadline in ’18 than just prior to the season…Of course, all these would cause a fan revolt.

                  As for your question of: “Traded a star player for a haul that eventually led them to a pennant or world series?” I’d have to think about it…the first thought that jumped to my head was a non-baseball reference…Hershel Walker. But, I’ll kick it around and see what I can come up with.

                  • Great answer, Blaine. These conversations would be much better over a couple beers than on the web. 😉

                    • I’m game…can you be in South Carolina by 6? 🙂

                    • By the way…just flipping through transaction pages…don’t know if Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran would suffice…

                      And, even though they never won the pennant or WS, I’d still say the deal that brought Van Slyke, LaValliere, and Dunne to the Pirates is the epitome of selling a star at max value (of course, this is minus all the deals I’m overlooking)…and I don’t think the Pirates win three divisions without it.

                    • I mean I’m not willing to put Cutch and Tony Pena in the same boat but I also wasn’t around then so I won’t kill you or anything if that’s your stance. My point in all this was that super duper star players don’t get traded and have it come out in that teams favor.

                    • Tony was awesome…I’d put him up there with Fisk and Carter as the top 3 catchers in the game when he was traded.

                      Superb defense, 3 time AS/4 GG’s in first 5 full seasons. Incredibly durable…averaging 137 starts/season in that span.

                      Was he in the same class as Cutch? No, probably not. But I would expect a higher return for Cutch because of that.

                    • Gotcha. Thanks for the quick history lesson. The 80’s are admittedly a blank spot in my Pirates knowledge.

                    • Coincidentally, the 80s are also a blank spot in many of the Pirates own memories…

                    • I see what you did there….

                    • He was a thing of beauty…interestingly, the year in that run he didn’t make the AS team, he was 12th in MVP voting.

                      I still remember the day he was traded…it was April Fool’s Day and I was playing basketball with my Walkman in…the announcement was made and the radio announcer swore it was probably and April Fool’s Day joke.

                      I don’t think anyone could pull off this catching stance today:


                    • Just looking at that picture makes so many of my joints hurt…

                    • It was a sad, sad time for the middle of it…the darkest point was when the Pirates tried to buy respectability with players like Al Holland, George Hendrick, Sixto Lezcano, and Steve Kemp…basically, anyone who was over-the-hill and overpaid.

                      Thrift blew up that team and brought guys like the aforementioned and the absolute steal of Drabek (+bums) for Rick Rhoden.

                    • Steve Kemp was the deal where they traded a 19 year old Jay Buhner. That one stung!

                    • Those were the days when Syd Thrift had a midas touch in the trade market. He made that trade plus the Yankee trade for Drabek plus he did well getting Bream and others from the Dodgers.

                    • Thrift was the man…even when he got nothing back in return, he managed to give less than nothing away.

                • Nomar. Poor defense got him traded at the 2004 deadline for Dougie Baseball and Orlando Cabrera. Sox won the WS.

            • Very well said.

            • Well said!

        • I feel differently, as you see below, but I certainly get your view mate.. tedwins

      • I’d be fine waiting – just think the value might be enhanced by the team friendly contract for balance of 2016 and all of 2017

    • Not quite the same but a super duper star can leave & success can flourish. St. Louis let Pujols walk for nothing & been better without. I believe Pittsburgh would be better today, 2017 & beyond if they were to trade him now. I’m not into Saber metrics, but you can’t convince me you couldn’t get more WAR production out of the return package. A package that STARTS with Betts & Bogaerts would be an overall upgrade to the team in the now & future.

  • Would you, PP, on February 4, 2016 trade McCutheon and Melancon to the Redox for Mookie Betts, ohera, owens, and Eduardo Rodriguez, and there 1st pick in 2016 and the red sox first pick in 2017???

    • i think I will never fit in on any blog, too me, I don’t even understand how you guys talk about what we can give Cutch to re-sign, to me that ship has sailed, and to me thank GOD… What do we get for him now, or whenever, as a huge payment is all I ever think about… go ahead and rip on me but is all I see….

    • I’m really messed up, and thank you guys for not piling on me, but I still think this trade makes sense, night mates 🙂

    • I would do that, what is your genius name?… Oh.. tedwins, I would definitely get ahead of the curve and do that, thank you for even thinking about that tedwins 🙂

    • tick, tick tick, lets go NH and get this deal done 🙂

  • Is Meadows an option if Marte or McCutcheon sees one
    too many inside pitches?

  • his arm is weaker than MCutchen? is that even possible, are we talking Johnny Damon quality?

    • Cutch could really help himself if he’d more consistently hit his cutoff man. Cutch, too often, seems to combine a weak arm with a desire to try to make throws a strong arm makes.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with an outfield arm like Damon. He was a 20 on the scout scale. Meadows is more like a 40, though I’ve heard enough people say that he makes very accurate throws, so it plays up a little. Speaking of Damon, I once watched a Yankee game with Damon, Matsui and Bernie Williams. I’m not even sure if the three of them combined at that time would have scored an 80 for scouts. Matsui was the best of the three and his arm was worse than Meadows

      • I get John Dreker the posts about Damon, I think as years go by, just me, that folks missed out (perhaps I’m missing the point of where this thread about Meadows went, sorry if I did) on what a truly great winner can be, that Damon was… As a Bostonian, and didn’t care about the red sox, when they signed Damon, I thought to myself, they may win…. he kinda had an Agassi thing to him, it is hard to explain, of course…. my point that JDamon gets beat up by numbers, but he was more, if that makes sense….

      • piraterican21
        February 4, 2016 2:03 pm

        So how would Cutch arm rate on that same scale? 50 is average, I find it hard to believe that he is that, 45?

        • McCutcheon is , according to all observers, the hands down #2 CF in MLB at the present time, only behind Trout. So what does it matter what his arm is rated ?

          • Are you always this ornery? All the guy did was ask a simple question? I’m sure he realizes cutch is a terrific baseball player.

            • It was a freaking simple question. What the hell is your problem with that ? Who are you anyway ? The System Admin or self appointed enforcer ?

  • Wow the excitement I’m guessing either Osuna or Rojas as the #! prospect.

  • I wonder if we could entice the Mets with a package built around Meadows and Taillon for Matt Harvey…

    • NO

      • If anything, I’d throw the reds an offer for Mez as they’re unloading and he’s signed to a pretty team friendly deal for the next 4 years 4/28 as a top 5 offensive hitting catcher and average defensive catcher, which would give the perfect amount of time for McGuire to finish building up. Throw them Diaz, Kingham, Willy G and Brault/Tarpley gets us a stud catcher to slot in for lost power and set for the years to come. He did lead the majors in home runs at catcher with 25 and .893 OPS in 2014, and he’s a punxsy native 🙂

        Flip Cervelli and ehhh Harold R and idk another between 10-20 prospect for a Starting Pitcher #3 since we are definitely not re signing him and we have this year solved, plus I’d assume with that package we could maybe get another year from that starter.

        SP solved.

        Guys am I delusional……?

  • My feelings on Meadows are so bittersweet. He looks like he has all the potential in the world, but every positive step he makes chips away at any hope I have of them hanging on to Cutch past his current deal.

    • You should be rooting hard for the new CBA to bring the DH to the NL. It hurt for me to even type that.

      • No DH —can’t stand it! I will switch to UEFA.

        • I dislike the DH as well, but i do doubt adding it will drive away a sizable number of fans.

          • People thought outlawing smoking in bars would kill the bar business too. It’s a drug, and we’re addicted.

            • I think NYC was ahead of the curve on outlawing smoking in bars. It was always refreshing going out there. The next morning I wouldn’t smell like garbage, just FEEL like garbage. It was very refreshing. Also Cutch is not resigning here. Unless the Pirates are sitting on a pot of gold it makes sense for both teams to move on after 2018. The only real question is when do you explore trading him……….sadly.

              • Don’t tread on my second hand smoke lung cancer with your liberty-robbing regulations!

                • All I’m saying it was nice for those of us who slept in our clothes to not smell like smoke the next day. But if it makes you feel any better – whether or not a bar allowed smoking had zero effect on whether or not I would go there. Literally none.

              • I hear they’ve been looking for some good leprechaun hunters with the money they’ve saved by not adding a useful third starter

              • I now live in Florida where the state food for people over 50 is the cigarette… and they gladly let you smoke in most bars. I saw a guy getting takeout the other day and he had to go outside to smoke. I know, I know dude. Getting takeout is stressful. You need something to take the edge off.

        • Bet you’ll hold your nose and watch. If only just to complain and reminisce about the good old days.

      • You think Pirates are going to pay Cutch 30M plus to DH? Or do you really think Cutch is going to take another steep discount to stay in Pittsburgh again and settle for 20-22M?

        The article about the DH helping the Pirates blew my mind. As if it just wouldn’t be another hurdle to overcome with the Cubs the next few years. I want them to be forced to hide Schwarber in the field.

        • I hope with all my heart he takes another discount. But I don’t think he will.

          • I wonder if he would consider something like the one year opt out cespedes got with his deal. 3 years with an opt out after one year, 24 AAV or so…might be adequate to delay the inevitable anyway?

          • I don’t think you’ll want him in 3 years honestly…..

            • Depends on the contract, if he turns into a Ryan Howard shit show with a bloated contract I’d want him out. But I think if we get and a reasonable contact his bat will keep him chugging and he could maybe be moved into the DH if it ever shows up. But I think he means more to Pittsburgh than just his on field skills. He was at the core of why we were able to end the drought of my childhood and that should mean something.

              • He is all bat speed- it will slow down. His swing is violent and very lower body based, tons of torq, lots of hip. he’ll probably end up settling in as a player like Tori Hunter whom can still hit around .270 with 15 homers up through 38-40, but his best years will probably be over at 32

        • There’s two discussion in this.

          First, i think Cutch would be willing take less than max market value if PGH offered him a deal he found fair. It’ll still be hefty, and still be above 20 AAV. Not a given, not something i think we can put a likelihood on with accuracy, but possible.

          Second, while CHC being able to have a DH does help them im still not fully sold that Schwarber is set for a career of that level hitting. I havent seen him adjust to the league adjusting to him, in that his numbers kept going down late in the season. Which doesnt mean they wouldnt go sign a DH, just that im not fully sold on Schwarber being clearly an elite hitter just yet.

          Now if he puts out another 120-130+ wRC+ over the first two months of next year, he clearly will have adjusted and be a massive value.

          • 1. There is no certainty but my opinion is it would take near at least 30M AAV for Cutch to even consider extending. With 5% annual inflation the market the going rate for 1 WAR will probably be 10M or higher going into 2019. Even as a DH I still think Cutch will be be a 4 WAR or better player in 2019. I don’t expect his bat to age terribly.

            2. Schwarber does have SSS at this point in his career but I’m sorry if you put a gun to my head and told me I had to choose him or Jaso as my DH I’m taking Schwarber every day of week(IIRC premise of the article is DH would be short term advantage for us because of Bell taking over 1B and still having Jaso next year)

            • If you dont expect his bat to age terribly, 25-30 million isnt bad depending on the length of the deal with the DH in the NL. If he’s a 3 WAR guy on average over ages 31-37, he’s even value (with inflation of what 1 WAR equals on the market).

              In terms of Jaso vs Schwarber (which isnt really what it would be, since the new CBA isnt coming prior to this season) id take Schwarber. But if its 1 year of Jaso at DH and then moving Cutch to DH, totally different situation.

              As i see it, the DH surely doesnt help PGH in terms of affording what large markets can. But its also the only way i see PGH even having a chance to keep Cutch, which would be the only way we match production at DH and OF with large market teams.

              • Cmon Luke you know this FO has never and never should target spending 30M AAV and hope to get market value on that sort of investment. They have to aim for considerable surplus value when they spend that sort of money.

                Unfortunately I don’t see how an extension really works for the Pirates or for Cutch.

                • I dont think its a set in stone firm rule that they can “never” dish out a massive deal like that.

                  They just have to be insanely picky about when to do it. Cutch likely isnt the perfect fit to do it, but they can do it under the right circumstances. Such as a massive extension to Cole over his age 30-35 years.

                  • Your spot on Luke, but for me neither of those guys, just me, perhaps I’ll never see that guy, I don’t think I will knowing how NH runs the team and how I would as well.. gosh… wish we had money, but I’m cool being thoughtful…..

                  • It’s not so much about a “massive deal” or the amount of money spent as it is the fact they would likely get minimal surplus value on their investment. Small market teams can’t afford to pay market rate to 3-4 WAR players.

                    • hard post for me to understand, what do you mean???

                    • If thats a firm rule, PGH cant really expect to compete in general over 10-20 years unless they just keep hitting on young players.

                      PGH can, in my view, be closer to what STL is. A team that constantly values young players and uses that as a core but can dish out 1-2 bigger deals for the right players. They wont be massive surplus value, but they’ll provide massive value in production while the young players allow them the money to do so.

                      If PGH forces itself to get surplus value out of every single position, it misses a chance to use surplus value in 2-3 spots to fill a hole with a solid option from outside.

                    • The way I look at it hopefullly Taillon or Glasnow has broken out big time by 2017 or 2018 with a 4 or 5 WAR season and that money is invested in one of them at for 6 years 120M with an option or something like that. That is basically my point. As much as I Iove Cutch, with limited funds there most likely will be a more efficient method to spend that money with a more probable surplus return on investment.

                    • Totally a good point, if its one of those arms that gets a big deal it makes sense as well. I think Cutch is highly unlikely as well, but i dont think its a firm rule that they just wont ever give out big money to one player.

                      They gotta be really careful with it, but i dont think PGH will forever just go “cant do that deal, too much to 1 guy” void of the context of who the player is and his age.

                    • I totally agree with you there. And hopefully the next TV deal will make bigger contracts more plausible.

                    • ….but this is already what we do and have been doing. no evidence at all to suggest we’d do otherwise from what this regime has shown-

                    • I dont think no evidence to this point means we can clearly set it in stone and not bother to consider it ever. We’ve not yet seen 1 major home grown star hit that big contract situation yet, and really only had Cutch get to a big payday situation…but did so just before breaking out.

                      We’ve now got Polanco/Cole/potentially more arms showing up. Cant do it a lot, cant do it over typical regression years. But i can absolutely see it for a guy playing at an elite level covering years 28-34. Thats a Polanco type or Glasnow type reaching his first FA and getting a deal.

                    • Well i don’t fault your logic, there is no way to know that its in stone, but it’s in some adobe hut quality clay at the very least

                  • It’s discussions like these that make miss baseball from my childhood. I was fortunate to be able to watch many of Stargell’s years in Pittsburgh. As my favorite player, I would have been heartbroken to see him wear another uniform. In the 70s and early 80s the Pirates had a bunch of players that spend large portions of their careers in the Burgh. Nowadays, everyone knows it is simply a matter of time before these players move on to greener pastures. I think this is an area MLB needs to address. Players, such as Cutch, should be able to spend their entire careers with one team if both parties want that to happen.

                    • Id guess MLB would kindly respond something like:

                      “While we agree we enjoy players deciding to spend their entire career allowing one fanbase to cheer them on, Mr. McCutchen does already have the ability to spend his entire career in one place if he and said team agree on that.”

                    • While I agree with that statement in part, Luke, the problem is most, if not all, small market teams cannot afford the contracts the stars are getting today. It is sheer luck (or NH’s genius) that the PBC will have Cutch this long. There has to be a better formula for sharing the wealth industry wide.

                    • Idk, you could call it all blind luck. But one could also say its a massive success of evaluating talent when they did. Its due to the timing of the deal to Cutch that we have him, and even Cutch has said that deal allowed him to settle in and focus.

                      I dont think there is a perfect formula for making the game fair, barring a salary cap that no one really wants between owners and MLBPA.

                    • on a full no-trade clause and 30 million per year

                  • i don’t think that “right” circumstance exists in reality honestly

                    • Glasnow has all the signs of a guy that could easily qualify unless he just doesnt make it in the next 2-3 years. So young an extension covers still prime years and plenty of reason to think he’d wait to talk a deal until he throws out quality production.

          • I think Cutch would extend for 6/150. Figuring in what the Pirates owe him now would make it a 9/192. That’s a deal one year longer and 9M more than Heyward just inked.

            I’m sure the first 5-6 years of that contract would be beneficial to the Bucs, but the issue, though, is that that means the Pirates would spend the last 3-4 years of that deal committing 15ish percent of their payroll on a declining bat that doesn’t have a place in the field.

            Since he’s already controlled for 3 seasons…I think it would be a waste of resources to lay out that kind of cash for a couple more great seasons.

            The guy’s been a stud for this team…but I’d rather not sacrifice future success for pride and sentimentality.

        • Guys can be cycled in and out but I doubt Cutch will want to be DH’d 50 games a year though and Polanco and Marte aren’t going to DH because they are too good in the field. Getting a big package of players for Cutch because they have 3 OF already is not such a bad thing though if that is how it eventually plays out. If the Pirates still manage to have a middling to higher system when Cutch’s deal is up dealing him could almost put them back at the top of the pack.

          • This is why I don’t like us using this as a retooling year. I think quite frankly this year is the best chance to win it all given the age of our key components and that we have some rookies we can bring in mid year to stir the pot if necessary. We are 10-12 million away from having even odds with the cubs and cards and royals at getting to the world series and winning it…. the real retooling year is the year we trade cutch to bring in meadows, switching marte to center field- which means that really—–next year is our only year at full strength, maximum talent and experience on the field to win a championship considering I think Cutch will be dealt at the end of 2017

            • I completely with you on this. Why retool when you can spend some cash on another starter and maybe another good bench hitter or reliever just in case? It’s not gonna break the bank and will provide some insurance, and hey, it might even help you win some more games! Washington saved Strasburg for the future and look where that got them since. You should never sell the farm when you are this close, but you should go for it a little. Still time for that but with their 2 slow starts the last two years you’d like to see a little better staff right now. June is a long way away. I still hold out hope they aren’t done making moves

              • It’s like we are running a marathon and decided that since our knee is sore, we are going to stop running a mile short just so we don’t actually keep ourselves from being able to run the marathon a month from now…….its the dumbest thing ever.

                • Maybe Kang is healthier than we even know and they are very confident in Glasnow & Taillon…and they feel like there is a lot of time left to add what they need.

                  • They can “feel” anything that they want, but rookies aren’t expected to pitch like 3rd starters, and I think we are counting on, absolutely counting on Kang being ready opening day, cause otherwise, we don’t just have no depth, we are totally screwed. If they feel there is a lot of time left, well……….that’s my only hope. I pray everyday that i’ll log on and see they’ve chosen to fill their holes. . . . but, it is becoming less likely each day

                • I’ve thought of him as a mark grudzielanek type guy since o first saw him. Keith law seems like he thinks he is Craig biggio. A grudz that could stay at SS would be one hell of a player.

        • I agree with your point about the DH. WRT Cutch, though, I think he’d consider staying for something in the 20-2M/year range. I’d like to see them offer him 200M/10 right now and see what he does–I’m betting he’d take it.

          Unfortunately, from a purely financial perspective that doesn’t make sense for the Pirates and that’s why I don’t think he’ll be a Pirate beyond 2018 (though I’ll hold out hope).

        • I mean, he does seem to like it here, his wife is from the area, went to Slippery Rock and (IUP for her Masters I believe?) . His wife’s sister goes to IUP currently as McCutchen has been seen at our Indiana Ruby Tuesdays with the three of them. I believe he owns a house in Dubois in Treasure Lake. Money isn’t everything once you hit past a certain threshold for some people, and happiness takes over. If any athlete seems like they fall into that category, plus to make a legacy, he seems like it.

        • I think the only way the Pirates would pay market rate for an aging OF, even one who has done so much for the franchise as Cutch surely has, is to have the safety net of the DH position for when he loses his speed/range.

      • BAN THE DH

    • If the Pirates win the World Series with an outfield of Meadows, Marte, and Polanco, would you really care if Cutch is a Yankee?

      • It’d suck to know Cutch wasnt a part of this teams ultimate success after being such a massive part of its becoming relevant again.

        Im sure most fans wouldnt care so much to get really mad, but id care enough to lament the factors that converge to make it tough for small market teams to have a truly elite guy spend his entire career in one place.

      • I mean overall I’d be happy, but yes, I’d absolutely care. As much as I will concede the “rooting for laundry” point, some players carry a little more weight than that and even though I’m 30 he’s the only Pirate I’ve ever really felt that way about.

      • Yes

    • Until/unless they extend Polanco, there’s no reason to worry about Meadows’ potential impacting their decision about Cutch. Meadows is on a timeline that has him ready to break in in 2018 (possibly 2017, but I think 2018 is more likely). Polanco becomes arb eligible prior to the 2018 season which means that by 2019 he’ll start getting expensive enough that it might make sense to replace him with Meadows.

      • Actually that’s a very good point that I hadn’t realized.

        • Rediculous, his bat at that point will be worth every penny. He will also likely be the LF which requires a better arm at PNC and Meadows weak arm would play better in RF with Marte in CF. Cutch will be dealt likely regardless if he signs and extension or not.

    • If Cutch signs with another team after 2018, or he gets traded away for prospects before then, I’ve decided to be grateful for the time he was with the Pirates. It’ll be easy to chastise Nutting for being cheap, or MLB for having a financially uneven playing field, but the fact is it’s more likely than not the right move from a baseball standpoint. No team, no matter what their budget, can afford to pay premium prices for declining production and be successful. Even the Yankees and Dodgers have figured that one out.

      I certainly hope Cutch is the exception to the rule in regard to both seeking the most money possible and seeing his production decline, but I’m not banking on it happening.

  • I can’t wait until Altoona comes to Harrisburg!

    • I might be at that Altoona series in Harrisburg in late April. I always say I’ll wave to people from the press box but I never do, so I’m going to stop making that promise now.

    • Are they doing an Amish RR reenactment?

    • I can’t wait till they come to Altoona. I got the Meadows preview last season, and that was worth the wait. Now I want to see McGuire up close.

    • Foo i’m moving to Harrisburg, more so Mechanicsburg or Camp Hill in late March from Indiana PA for a new job.

      Can you tell me anything about either of those areas? Brian C from BD said I’ll get root sports for bucs and pens, but Steelers are not always shown.


      • Paul Polinsky
        February 5, 2016 7:54 am

        If you have children you want to be in Cumberland Valley school system.. I lived 18 years there in Hampden Township (Mechanisburg address), 6 miles from downtown and right at the base of the Blue Mountains. Great place to live! Steelers bars galore for the few games not televised locally.

      • I echo Paul polinsky’s thoughts on living area. Reasonable taxes. Good schools. Yes you can get Root on cable, Verizon, Dish etc. I ni know there may have been 3 Steeler games that weren’t on regular TV this past season. Previous years as maybe six one so. Lots is sports bars around with NFL Ticket though so not a problem.

  • Met him at the AFL this year, nice kid and very excited to watch him come up through the system.