Pirates bring back Andrew McCutchen with one-year deal

Andrew McCutchen, who needs just one home run to reach 300 for his career, will return to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a one-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The deal is worth $5 million deal, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

McCutchen, 37, will be entering his 16th season after entering the majors with Pittsburgh in 2009. He made it clear last season that he wanted to finish his career with the Pirates, and general manager Ben Cherington said he was confident it would happen.

The five-time All-Star and 2013 NL MVP hit .256 with 12 homers, 43 RBIs, 55 runs and 11 stolen bases in 112 games last season, primarily as a designated hitter. He also provides a veteran voice who knows what it's like to win in Pittsburgh after helping the franchise to three straight playoff berths from 2013 to '15.

"In every discussion with Andrew, it was clear we both shared the same strong desire for him to remain a Pirate," said Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting in a statement. "He is a tremendous person, player and teammate. He is an all-time great Pirates player who represents our city with a deep sense of pride. His presence in our lineup and our clubhouse has had a significant impact on our young team. The way he plays the game on the field and carries himself in the community will continue to make all of us in the organization better."

McCutchen, who suffered a partially torn Achilles tendon in his left foot on Sept. 4, surpassed 2,000 career hits earlier in the season while posting a .378 on-base percentage.

His days in the outfield are likely over. He played in right field for a handful of games early in 2023 before exclusively moving to the designated hitter spot.

The Pirates benefited on the field and at the gate with McCutchen's familiar No. 22 back in the fold during a season in which they went 76-86, a 15-game improvement over 2021. Pittsburgh averaged 20,131 fans at PNC Park last season, more than 4,500 more than the club averaged in 2022.

The Pirates believe they are nearing the end of the franchise-wide overhaul Cherington began when he took over four years ago. Pittsburgh has used the offseason to add several established players in recent days, bringing in veteran left-handed starting pitchers Martin Perez and Marco Gonzales and signing first baseman Rowdy Tellez.

"They're just a couple pieces away," Tellez said Monday. "I just want to be over there and help out in any way I can and just be a veteran guy that they can look to and talk to and be around and help them win as many games as I can."

Tellez & Co. will join a group that includes Gold Glove third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, outfielder Bryan Reynolds and shortstop Oneil Cruz, who missed almost all of last season with a left leg injury. The top overall pick in the 2023 draft, pitcher Paul Skenes could also get a long look during spring training and could be in the majors sooner rather than later.

McCutchen, the guiding force of Pittsburgh's run to three straight playoff berths from 2013-15, knows better than any active player what it takes to win in a Pirates uniform. When he came back a year ago he stressed it wasn't out of sentiment but something more basic.

"I want to win," he said in January. "Specifically, I want to win here. "

The Associated Press contributed to this report.