PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen didn’t run from the challenge in Pittsburgh, he embraced it. A rising star on a franchise mired in two decades of losing, McCutchen bet on the Pirates in the spring of 2012 by signing a six-year contract, gambling that he could become one of the game’s best while helping the city reconnect with a team it had long since abandoned.

ANDREW McCUTCHEN

It paid off for all involved.

The dynamic, charismatic outfielder became an MVP while ushering in a renaissance. Five All-Star games. Three playoff appearances. A ballpark packed with fans wearing his No. 22. Everything McCutchen and owner Bob Nutting talked about six years ago came to fruition.

And on Monday, it all came to an end.

Facing the certainty that they couldn’t re-sign McCutchen when he hit free agency next winter, the Pirates traded him to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for right-hander Kyle Crick, minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international signing bonus allocation. The Pirates also will sent $2.5 million to the Giants to cover part of McCutchen’s $14.75 million salary.

General Manager Neal Huntington broke the news to McCutchen with a phone call Monday that closed a remarkable but also remarkably brief chapter for a player Nutting said he wanted to make a “Pirate for life” before what the organization considers the economic truths of the sport set in.

“In a perfect world, that would have been a great result for Pittsburgh, a great result for Andrew,” Nutting said. “I think the realities of the game, now don’t allow that.”

TWINS: Right-handed reliever Addison Reed and Minnesota finalized a $16.75 million, two-year contract.

ROYALS: Pitcher Danny Duffy pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in a Kansas City suburb and has been placed on a year’s probation.