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Pirates' McCutchen could command a lot more

| Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010

This season, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen made $422,500, which is a tad over the major-league minimum salary. But if he was magically eligible to hit the open market, McCutchen would be worth around $8.5 million.

General manager Neal Huntington has not yet approached McCutchen's agent about a multi-year contract extension. But you can figure McCutchen's market value is close to that of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, who just received a six-year, $51 million deal.

McCutchen was drafted 11th overall in 2005. Bruce was the next pick.

McCutchen, who debuted in the majors June 4, 2009, has 1.123 years of service time (262 games). Bruce, who debuted May 27, 2008, has 2.125 years of service time (357 games).

McCutchen's career stats: .286 batting average, 28 homers, 110 RBI, 55 stolen bases, .365 OBP, .824 OPS.

Bruce's career stats: .257, 68 homers, 180 RBI, 12 steals, .327 OBP, .800 OPS.

Bruce was eligible for arbitration this year as a "Super Two" player — that is, those with less than three years' service time who are among the top 17 percent for cumulative playing time in the majors in this class of players and were on the major-league roster for at least 86 days in the previous season.

Unless he also becomes a Super Two, McCutchen won't be eligible for arbitration until 2013.

In March, the Diamondbacks gave outfielder Justin Upton a six-year, $51.25 million contract. Upton was the first overall pick in 2005.

Winter meetings postscript

Huntington was busy — and productive — during last week's winter meetings.

"We had a large number of conversations — trade-wise, free agent-wise," Huntington said. "Some have fallen off the cliff and gone nowhere. Some have led to some things. Some are still in conversation."

Huntington paused and gave a satisfied smile.

"We feel like we've made ourselves better. That was the goal coming in, and we'll continue to work toward it."

The Pirates locked up two free-agent starting pitchers, although one of them — oft-injured left-hander Scott Olsen — was signed to essentially a tryout contract. The team also got a right-handed hitter who should fill at least a platoon role in right field.

Even so, holes remain.

Manager Clint Hurdle said getting a couple of left-handed relievers is a priority. The team also could use a new first baseman, preferably a righty hitter with some power. A solution at shortstop remains elusive. Quality depth is lacking for the starting rotation.

Around the horn

Former third-base coach Tony Beasley, who was let go after the season, was hired as manager in Harrisburg, the Washington Nationals' Double-A affiliate. ... At 8 p.m. Wednesday, MLB Network will air the recently discovered original TV broadcast of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. The show will include snippets from last month's premiere at the Byham Theatre, Downtown. A half-hour documentary about former Pirates owner Bing Crosby's role in baseball will air at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on MLB Network.

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