The Pittsburgh Pirates are entering the 20th anniversary season of their last winning year and trying hard to ensure that streak doesn't last too much longer. The $51.5-million, six-year extension for outfielder Andrew McCutchen was a necessary step toward that goal.
The Pirates are shedding their "cheap'' label, at the very least. They've spent a whopping $50 million on the draft and international signings since taking Pedro Alvarez first in 2008, they took on salary while acquiring veteran hitters Ryan Ludwick and Derek Lee at the deadline, and they added $13 million over two years by taking on A.J. Burnett. They also reportedly tried for Edwin Jackson before he signed with the Nats.
The McCutchen deal is logical since it mirrors the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton contract. McCutchen's stats are better at the signing, but Upton is the player with greater power and a higher ceiling. In any case, it's not the usual Pirates deal. The McCutchen contract, which was first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has been confirmed.
So they do indeed spend. Pretty soon it will be time to win.