Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco told reporters today that he’d be open once again to exploring an extension with the club, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry was among those to report (Twitter link). But the Bucs haven’t yet re-visited the subject since it was tabled last April, he added.
Notably, the Pirates and Polanco “came very close” to reaching an accord last year, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on Twitter (and as Jon Heyman has previously suggested). Biertempfel indicates, though, that the sides are likely to open a new dialogue this spring, as he explains further in a post on the subject.
The new deal yesterday for Dee Gordon — like Polanco, a BHSC client — provides a reminder that extension season is upon us. Spring training has often proved a fertile venue for long-term negotiations, with many deals coming to fruition there — or, sometimes, gaining steam before completion early in the season.
Polanco certainly looks to be a candidate for a multi-year deal after turning in a full and productive big league season last year. He slashed just .256/.320/.381, but turned things on in the second half and also contributed 27 steals. Importantly, too, metrics credit him with big overall value on the bases (5.3 BsR) and with the glove (7.7 UZR, 12 DRS).
While other organizations might prefer to see a lengthier run of production, Pittsburgh has given every indication of being committed to the 24-year-old and would obviously also see some upside in locking him in now, when he’s accumulated only 1.103 years of service.
Prior talks were said to be in the seven or eight-year range, though it’s not clear where things might head now that there’s another season under Polanco’s belt. Certainly, the youngster’s leverage has risen due to his solid campaign and service accumulation, though he also hasn’t yet reached his potentially lofty ceiling.
According to Heyman’s prior reporting, the earlier negotiations did not result in a deal in large part because the parties could not come to an understanding over the option rights that the Pirates would acquire in the contract. While it seemed that a string of three option seasons was a settled element of the package being discussed, both the value (reportedly, $11MM to $13MM) and the timing of the decisions on those options were apparently never resolved.