The Pittsburgh Pirates’ feel-good story became official on Friday afternoon as the team re-introduced outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who signed a one-year deal for 2023 with the team.
McCutchen, who will be playing in his 10th season with the team, was accompanied by general manager Ben Cherington at the podium in the press conference room at PNC Park.
“This is a day that should have happened and now is happening and I just happen to be the GM at the time,” Cherington said. “I get to sit up here with (McCutchen), so I feel really lucky about that.”
Very likely the most decorated player in the 21st century for Pittsburgh, returns to the first organization he ever knew.
The Pirates made McCucthen, then an 18-year-old kid from Ft. Meade, Florida, the 11th overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft.
After reaching the big leagues, McCutchen made an instant impact in all three facets of the game.
McCutchen received plenty of hardware and recognition. He was named the National League MVP in 2013, went to five All-Star games, took home multiple Silver Slugger Awards, a gold glove as well as the Roberto Clemente Award in 2015.
After stops with the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers, his career has come full-circle.
“I’m overly excited,” said McCutchen on his return. “There’s not a word that really describes how I feel in this moment, even in this time and being in this position.”
Just over five years ago to the date, the Pirates made the unpopular move of trading McCutchen to the Giants, ending his nine-year stint with the team.
Knowing the business side of the game, McCutchen knew he might not have had a chance to return to the Pirates, but it all worked out in the end.
“To have this opportunity, to be able to come back, it doesn’t always happen, you don’t always get that chance. For me, I was hoping I did get that chance again because this place is a part of me.”
McCutchen, who was accompanied by his wife and three children, was all smiles after getting the chance to return to the organization that has meant so much to him.
Even after getting traded by the Pirates, McCutchen and his family never left Pittsburgh. Now, his family is a part of his story here.
“One of the coolest things that I get to do is I get to show my kids that this is part of who I was and this is part of who I am and they get to see that… It won’t just be a story that I tell them one day, they’ll actually get to be a part of it.”
There’s an old saying that all stories have happy endings. That may be the case, but this might not be the final chapter in the Andrew McCutchen book.
While the story of “Cutch” will continue to write itself, there is one thing he wants to be written now in his second stint with the team.
“I’m not here on a farewell tour, I’m here to play and I’m here to help this ballclub win… there’s something special about this club.”
It was ten years ago that McCutchen earned his MVP award and the former face of the franchise is back home.
“There’s nothing like being back and seeing familiar faces. It’s just great.”
Pirates’ fans can rejoice as the ever-popular McCutchen will be back in a No. 22 black and gold jersey at PNC Park this year.