The 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates have many problems and they are many.
You want me to continue?
Here’s one that’s starting to get talked about and frankly, it was a huge problem last year.
The decline of Andrew McCutchen.
We’re into the second week of May and McCutchen is hitting .222 with 5 HR and 15 RBI.
Sorry but after his pedestrian season in 2016, this isn’t just a slump anymore. The question is whether we’ll see the Andrew McCutchen of old or is his career simply in decline.
His numbers last year weren’t terrible (.256, 24 HR, 79 RBI) but it was obvious to anyone that watched him over a long period of time could tell he wasn’t the same player.
Many speculated that he was injured but unfortunately the 2017 Andrew McCutchen looks a lot like last year’s version.
Remember when the Pirates were criticized by virtually everyone for not signing McCutchen to an extension so he could finish his career as a Pirate?
We haven’t heard that complaint in a while and for good reason.
Have you seen anything in the last two years that would make you want the team to sign him to an extension?
Keep in mind, Cutch is making $14.5 million this year and in 2018 and will no doubt want more than in his next contract negotiation.
The Pirates shouldn’t even consider extending him for a second.
The real question now is after trying hard to trade him before the season, if they attempted to deal him during this season, would anyone want him? Would Neal Huntington be able to get anything of real value for the former NL MVP?
It’s funny how things end up playing out.
Before the start of last year, the Pirates outfield of McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco was considered by many, including myself, as the top outfield in Major League Baseball.
Fast forward two years and with McCutchen’s decline, Marte’s failed drug test and Polanco’s lack of development, that dream outfield is looking like a nightmare.