Pirates make Marte signing official
BRADENTON, Fla. — Andrew McCutchen nodded approvingly Thursday morning when the Pirates finalized their six-year, $31 million contract extension with outfielder Starling Marte.
“It's beneficial for both sides,” McCutchen said. “I'm living testimony of that.”
Before the 2012 season, McCutchen signed a six-year, $51.5 million deal. It's the second-largest contract in franchise history behind the $60 million package Jason Kendall got in 2000.
Instead of being a building block, though, Kendall's contract wound up as nothing more than a footnote amid 21 consecutive losing seasons.
It could be different with the deals given to McCutchen and Marte. Including Jose Tabata and Charlie Morton, the Pirates have four players signed beyond the 2014 season. More multi-year deals could be on the way.
“It's an exciting time,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We're not trying to build a house; we're trying to create a home. This is tangible evidence that we're creating a place where players want to be, a place where they want to thrive, a place where players want to settle.”
Marte will get a $2 million bonus in addition to his $512,600 salary this year. He will make $1 million in 2015, $3 million in 2016, $5 million in 2017, $7.5 million in 2018 and $10 million in 2019. There is a $2 million buyout if the club declines its options in 2020 ($11.5 million) and 2021 ($12.5 million).
The dollar figures in each of the option years could increase by up to $1 million, based on where Marte finishes in the NL MVP voting. With those escalators, the contract could be worth up to $53 million.
“There are a lot of reasons I (signed),” Marte said through interpreter Peter Greenberg, his agent. “I didn't feel I needed to wait because I like where I am. I have confidence in the organization, and I feel comfortable.”
Just 25 years old, Marte has played 182 games since making his big league debut in July 2012. He was an NL Gold Glove finalist in left field last season — and essentially gives the Pirates two center fielders in PNC Park's spacious outfield.
“Left-center used to be my gap, my ball (to catch),” McCutchen said. “When he got there, he pretty much established that he could catch that ball, regardless of how it's hit or where we are (positioned). I know that if I can't get to it, he probably can. It makes it easy on me and easy on my legs.”
Locking up Marte gives management some financial flexibility in coming years that comes from having fixed costs. That will be important as key players such as second baseman Neil Walker, third baseman Pedro Alvarez and right-hander Gerrit Cole approach free agency.
“This is something that's part of our plan to sign young men who are going to be great players,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We feel very fortunate Starling was willing to commit to us as we were willing to commit to him.”
This year's $78.1 million payroll is the highest in franchise history, although it still ranks as the fourth-lowest among the 30 major league teams. McCutchen expects to see the Pirates offer more multiyear contracts in the next few years.
“It's something that didn't happen before, so it's good that it's happening now,” McCutchen said. “Hopefully, we can continue it with some other guys in this clubhouse. You would think that it would come with what we did last year and what we're continuing to do. We continue to change things for the better.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Morton hopes to return this season
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle weighs trio at 1st base
- Wednesday’s scouting report: Braves at Pirates
- Tuesday’s scouting report: Braves at Pirates
- CF McCutchen returns to lineup, but Braves blast fast-fading Pirates
- Pirates minor league notebook: Pitcher Heredia finally hitting form
- Pirates’ losing streak extended to 6 games
- Pirates’ McCutchen expects to play Tuesday; Alvarez to start at 1B
- National complete 3-game sweep of Pirates, losing streak hits 5
- Moving Alvarez from spot at 3rd base discussed by Pirates
- Tigers’ Scherzer mows down Pirates in win