Kemp, slated to occupy right field for the Padres, spoke up for his neighbors, Justin Upton in left and Wil Myers in center, when asked for his opinion of the best outfield in the Majors.
"It's right here," he said. "Right here in San Diego. You can write it down -- and print it."
McCutchen took that quote as a correct reflection of where Kemp was coming from -- yesteryear. These days things get posted, and the new outfield age belongs to the Bucs.
Having three natural center fielders in the outfield would be overkill in many ballparks. But not in PNC Park, where a North Side notch in left-center and challenging nooks in right put a premium on line-to-line speed.
"Their ability to go get a ball, to read balls off the bat … if there is some air underneath a ball, we have three men more than capable of running it down and getting it in leather," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "All have strong, accurate arms. When they're on the field, it lifts up our entire defensive game.
"It will be a very exciting outfield to watch develop, from the start of the season. Look at what we had last year when all three were on the field."
That happened relatively few times, even though Polanco arrived from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 10. Between back-to-back DL stints by Marte and McCutchen and Polanco's second-half slump, the trio shared the starting lineup in only 38 games. The Bucs won 24 of them -- a .632 winning percentage, or 102 wins across a full season.