Pirates, McCutchen reach six-year deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates and All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen agreed on Tuesday to a six-year, $51.5 million deal.

McCutchen, 25, is now under contract with the Pirates through the 2017 season, and there’s a club option for 2018.

Though he hit just .259 in 2011, McCutchen posted career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (89) while adding 23 stolen bases. He would have been eligible to become a free agent following the 2015 season.

McCutchen is considered the linchpin of a core group the Pirates are relying on to turn the franchise around.

”Andrew McCutchen is one of the best young players in the game and we are very pleased to make this type of commitment to a great player and a great person,” general manager Neal Huntington said. ”It has been our intent for Andrew to be a cornerstone for this organization and this contract solidifies that intent for at least the next seven years.”