McCutchen agrees to six-year deal with Pirates

3/6/2012 9:29:45 AM

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal buys out McCutchen's salary arbitration years and includes a club option for the 2018 season. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had initially reported the contract to be worth $51.5 million with the option at $14.75 million.

"Andrew McCutchen is one of the best young players in the game and we are very pleased to make this type of commitment to a great player and a great person," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington in a statement. "It has been our intent for Andrew to be a cornerstone for this organization and this contract solidifies that intent for at least the next seven years. We believe this agreement to be very positive for both sides and we look forward to Andrew being a key part of our current and future success."

McCutchen is coming off his best season in three years with the Pirates, as he batted .259 and led the team with 23 homers, 89 runs batted in and 23 stolen bases in 2011. He also earned his first All-Star Game selection.

The long-term deal marks a change for the once-proud Pittsburgh organization. The Pirates have struggled to keep their talented prospects in recent years, having traded away such blossoming stars as Aramis Ramirez, Jason Bay and Nate McLouth.

"We have said from the very beginning that our plan is to acquire high impact talent, then retain and build on that talent to bring a winning organization to our fans," said Pirates chairman Bob Nutting. "I believe this agreement speaks not only to that commitment, but also to Andrew's belief in the positive direction of our club."

The Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992. Pittsburgh was in first place last year as late as July 25 before finishing 72-90. It was still the most wins for the club since 2003.

Pittsburgh selected McCutchen with the 11th pick of the 2005 draft and he has played his entire career with the Pirates, appearing in 420 games.

The 25-year-old is a career .276 hitter with 95 doubles, 19 triples, 51 home runs, 199 runs batted in, 255 runs scored and 78 stolen bases.