Pirates Notes: McCutchen, Carp, Ike, Josh Bell

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What if the Pirates extended Andrew McCutchen? Now.

Wednesday, team president Frank Coonelly said on 93.7 The Fan that the team will hand out a $100 million contract at some point. McCutchen signed a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension prior to the 2012 season.

Why not add two years to make the deal worth $100.5 million?

Truth be told, doubling the extension McCutchen signed prior to 2012 spring training would still look like a tremendous bargain.

Jhonny Peralta (and his 50-game PED suspension history) signed a four-year, $53 million deal earlier in the offseason. It’s difficult to believe a player of that caliber will make double McCutchen’s take — $15.5 million to $7.25 million – in 2014.

The average New York Yankee will make over $9 million in 2014, and that was before the Japaneses pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, announcement.

It’s important to note McCutchen hasn’t complained about his contract – that’s not his style. He doesn’t seem like the type to complain about making tens of millions of dollars instead of hundreds of millions.

But the money flowing around the game has to be gnawing at the reigning NL MVP a little bit.

Putting Cutch over the $100 million mark would take some heat off of the Pirates and at the same time, reward a player with an exemplary attitude on and off the field.

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If the Pirates need to ruffle a few feathers to get a better TV deal, I’m all in favor of them doing so. The figure of $20 million was thought to be the annual amount before Mr. Coonelly said during Piratefest that the team is in the top half of TV deal revenue.

Terms of the actual television deal have never been released. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the Pirates and Root Sports agreed to a 10-year agreement worth $18 million per season. Click here for details.

If the Bucs need to act like a college basketball coach and re-do the deal, so be it. The Phillies signed a 25-year, $2.5 billion deal and the Dodgers are printing money like a South American dictatorship.

What’s wrong with re-negotiating the deal in light of what’s happening around the league?

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While ESPN writer, Paul Swydan, says the Pirates should sign Kendrys Morales, he also believes Ike Davis or Mike Carp could fill Pittsburgh’s need for a first baseman.

I’ve written about Morales here, but Carp is a name I hadn’t heard before as a possible platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez. Click here for a look at Carp’s numbers.

He’s already in the first year of arbitration, meaning the Bucs would have two additional seasons of control after 2014.

Since Swydan’s article was written, Boston signed Grady Sizemore to a guaranteed contract. Carp now might be more available than ever.

A look at his fielding ability via Fan Graphs isn’t particularly promising.

My recollection of Carp is more of a failed player with Seattle after signing with the Mets, but his acquisition cost might prove reasonable and he had a decent 2013 for the World Series champs. At least his name is different than the usual ones tossed about.

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I was surprised how few elite first basemen there are in the National League. After Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, Allen Craig (OF, too) and Adrian Gonzalez, there are a lot of players who hope to be “league average” like Adam LaRoche.

One player in the Pittsburgh system worth potentially fast-tracking to the big leagues is Josh Bell, the switch-hitting outfielder who missed most of 2012 with a knee injury. The second-round pick put in a full pro season for the first time in 2013. Click here for his numbers.

Bell has greater value as an outfielder, but the Bucs might need him more at first base than in the outfield – considering Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco will be around for a while. Plus, the team has other prospects like Austin Meadows, Barrett Barnes and Harold Ramirez.

What the organization needs is a first base prospect and the power-hitting Bell could fill that bill. The move would help his knee and get him to the big leagues faster than if he stayed in the outfield.

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Treasure Life!
JT

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