Pittsburgh, PA: The career of a baseball player can be a long, weary trip, starting off in high school, then looping around through college baseball, three levels of minor league ball, and then, finally, into “The Show.”
When you play for the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and, until recently, the Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals, the trip doesn’t stop there, as baseball players strive not only to be better than anyone else at their position, but also get on a better team. Such is the case for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ surging outfielder, Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen was called up to the majors from the Pirates’ farm system after their all-star center fielder at the time, Nate McCluth, was traded to the Atlanta Braves.
“Right out of the gate it was a cost-saving move,” explained Pittsburgh sports analyst Paul Emmanuel. “McLuth’s jerseys only needed four letters stripped off to make room for McCutchen’s name. You really couldn’t have set up a better replacement.”
When asked how the Pirates could possibly change the letters to merchandise jerseys, Emmanuel exclaimed, “Merchandising? These are the Pirates we’re talking about. 90% of the fans in the stands are wearing Steelers jerseys. We’re lucky they wear a baseball cap once in a while.”
Like McLuth, McCutchen had a solid rookie season, earning the honor of being the 2009 Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, outfield positions were suffering from player over-saturation. 2010 was even better, as McCutchen began drawing comparisons to Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford. In 2011 and 2012, McCutchen found himself as a representative of the Pirates in the All-Star Game.
Still, McCutchen may see this year’s trading deadline pass without so much as a rumor of moving to a better team.
“It’s going to happen,” stated Paul Emmanuel. “McCutchen signed a 6-year, $51.5-million contract extension last year. That’s over three-quarters of the combined players’ salaries of the Pittsburgh Pirates. A signing like that could only mean that the Pirates are ready to replenish their farm system for next year.”
“When asked if the possibility that the Pirates will finish above .500 for the first time since 1992 could impede on such a trade, Emmanuel answered, “This is the Pirates. I’ll believe it when I see it.”