MLB stars

Andrew McCutchen is relieved that the flurry of trade rumors surrounding him this offseason never came to pass.

In a Players’ Tribune article on Friday, McCutchen wrote “All I knew was that I wanted to keep playing in Pittsburgh,” adding “I’m a Pirate. I don’t want to be anything else.”

The latter statement seems to be a declaration that McCutchen will stay in Pittsburgh after his contract expires following the 2018 season. General manager Neal Huntington engaged in trade talks this offseason in large part to avoid the former MVP leaving the Steel City for nothing in return. However, Huntington doesn’t seem to think the Pirates are out of the woods yet. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Rob Biertempfel reported earlier last week that the GM is still willing to trade McCutchen if the right offer comes along.

McCutchen will be 31 years old when the contract expires. And if Huntington is not willing to give him a long-term deal, those words could be tested. After a steep performance drop last season–he slashed .256/.336/.430 and had an unsightly -0.7 WAR–McCutchen has been moved to right field and will face new questions if the decline continues.

On the position change, McCutchen said he was “naturally skeptical.” However, he seems to be happy to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh’s legendary right fielder.

After a disappointing 2016, McCutchen’s resurgence is vital to Pittsburgh’s chances in the upcoming season.