McCutchen sets the table for Hosmer
This would be the 27th consecutive season the Kansas City Royals would not be part of the postseason, if they don't make it. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, this would be the 20th consecutive year without being part of baseball's October.
So for the fans of these two teams, progress is measured in other ways, and this morning's news that the Pirates and Andrew McCutchen have agreed to a six-year deal is maybe the best thing to happen to the team since before Sid Bream slid home. Fairly or not, the question of whether the Pirates would be able to keep McCutchen and build around him -- as the Colorado Rockies have with Troy Tulowitzki and the Milwaukee Brewers with Ryan Braun -- has been a Pittsburgh referendum on whether the team is serious about winning.
The Pirates have a foundation piece in place now. The Kansas City Royals are trying to do the same thing, with the wave of young talent it has drafted and developed. Last week, catcher Salvador Perez -- who the Royals hope will follow in the path of Yadier Molina and eventually become a productive hitter -- agreed to a five-year, $7 million deal. Kansas City is in negotiations with Alex Gordon, who is coming off the best season of his career, and whether or not they can get something done with him, there figure to be talks with shortstop Alcides Escobar, who is already regarded by some scouts as baseball's most talented defensive shortstop.
These conversations are a prelude to the team's most significant target: first baseman Eric Hosmer, who is the Royals' version of McCutchen, as a superstar-level talent.
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