7:09pm: Pittsburgh made the offer during Spring Training, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While the options came with relatively low values given what Polanco may ultimately hope to command through free agency, Heyman says they would have pushed the total achievable value of the deal into the $50MM to $60MM range.
6:40pm: The Pirates recently made top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco a seven-year contract offer that would have guaranteed him just under $25MM, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Polanco rejected the extension, which included three club options on the back end.
The offer appears to be quite similar to that made by the Astros to fellow outfield prospect George Springer, which of course was also declined. Like Springer at the time of his offer, Polanco has yet to taste any big league action and could be awaiting promotion due to service time considerations. While Springer has since made his way to the bigs, and is now on track to qualify for Super Two status if he stays up, Polanco could be destined to be held at Triple-A until the Bucs feel confident he will not reach enough service time to qualify for an extra year of arbitration.
Polanco, 22, is off to an impressive start in his first substantial stint at the highest level of the minors. Through 127 plate appearances, he has a .397/.449/.621 line with four home runs and six stolen bases (though he’s been caught four times). Polanco opened the year in the top quarter of most top-100 prospect lists and cracked the top 10 in the view of Baseball America, which calls him a true five-tool player.
Though Passan’s report does not specify a timeline on discussions, he says the offer was made “recently.” Assuming that the seven years would have started in 2014, the extension would have bought out Polanco’s six years of team control and first free agent season, while transferring control to the team over three more years of potential free agent eligibility.
From the Pirates’ perspective, Polanco seems to represent a likely upgrade over the team’s current right field platoon. Needless to say, regardless when the call-up is made and whether a long-term deal is ultimately reached, Pittsburgh hopes that the athletic youngster will slot alongside Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte to form the league’s most exciting young outfield combination.