Andrew McCutchen Contract Extension is a Good Sign for the Pittsburgh Pirates: Fan’s View

On Tuesday, March 6, the Pittsburgh Pirates and centerfielder Andrew McCutchen agreed to a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension. The Pirates have a $14.75 million option for a seventh season.

It's hard to believe that the McCutchen contract is the second-largest in club history because this deal is a bargain. I know some fans will question how the Pirates could commit themselves to a player who hit just .259 last season, but McCutchen is worth every penny the team is paying him.

At age 25, McCutchen is just now entering his prime after posting career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (89) in 2011 while adding 23 stolen bases. The team has every reason to believe he will improve those numbers in the coming years. Those people who are worried about McCutchen's batting average should refer to his first two seasons when he hit .286 for the Pirates. Everyone has an off-year, and I think McCutchen's batting average will rebound as the Pirates give him some protection in the lineup.

However, the main reason this deal is a bargain because McCutchen wants to be a Pirate. How many players out there right now want to be part of an organization that hasn't had a winning season in two decades? McCutchen sees himself as part of the solution in Pittsburgh. He's not trying to run from the situation. Instead, McCutchen is one of the players who wants to help restore the once-proud franchise to its former glory.

In a world where stars are looking for $15 million a year, McCutchen's deal is a bargain that will help give the Pirates some flexibility when trying to keep their young core of players together. In the past, Pittsburgh has had to trade its talent when contracts got too expensive, but that won't be the case with McCutchen. Even the Pirates can afford to keep him for the full duration of his deal.

It looks like Pittsburgh has finally found its cornerstone player. I look forward to seeing Andrew McCutchen in a Pirates uniform for years to come.

Derek Ciapala has been following the Pirates since the days when Bob Walk and Doug Drabek took the mound for the Buccos. He hopes this is the year the Pirates finally have a winning season. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

Don't miss a minute of the action with Full Count!
Batter up! Sign up for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball or follow Yahoo! Sports' MLB coverage on Twitter.
Updated Thursday, Mar 8, 2012