Neil Walker Rumors
- McCutchen turned down two contract offers before agreeing to terms with the Pirates, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
- The Pirates figured that Walker would be easier to sign than McCutchen earlier on in the negotiating process. A source close to the Walker-Pirates talks tells Biertempfel that a lot of work needs to be done on a possible agreement.
- It sounds like the Pirates won't work out an extension with Walker in the immediate future, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington said Pirates fans don’t have to worry that the club will flip McCutchen for prospects, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. “We are now well beyond the talent-accumulation phase,” Huntington said. “We're into the championship, Major League team-building phase." Huntington also pointed out that in baseball there’s no LeBron James or Sidney Crosby to come in and save a franchise more or less on his own.
- Heyman writes that he doesn't consider McCutchen a $51.5MM player yet, though Pirates people expect him to become one.
The Pirates put a finishing touch on their offseason yesterday, agreeing to terms with Andrew McCutchen on a six year, $51.5MM contract extension. Here's the latest on the Pirates, starting with some reactions to the McCutchen deal...
- Neil Walker told Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Pittsburgh is lucky to have McCutchen under long-term control (all Twitter links). Walker, an extension candidate himself, told Sanserino that he'd also like to sign a long-term deal with the Pirates. So far extension talks haven’t gone very far, according to Walker.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs agrees with Walker, writing that Pirates fans should "dance in the streets" to celebrate the contract that will keep McCutchen in Pittsburgh for his prime.
- Nate McLouth and Charlie Morton were also pleased to see the deal completed, MLB.com's Tom Singer writes.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the yearly breakdown of McCutchen's contract (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney told Joe Giardina of Pittsburgh Sports Report that the Pirates are having trouble luring free agents to Pittsburgh. "They seem to be picking from just a different menu than some of the other teams," Olney said.
- Olney added that Pedro Alvarez is the most important player to the 2012 Pirates since he could break out into a star or continue to struggle.
With Andrew McCutchen's extension completed, the Pirates will focus their attention on second baseman Neil Walker, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Biertempfel believes a Walker extension may be "pricier than they originally expected," but the team will still pony up. What would be a fair deal for the 26-year-old Walker?
Walker currently has one year and 166 days of big league service, meaning he'll be arbitration eligible as a Super Two player after the 2012 season. A direct comparable for Walker may be difficult to find, as few infielders with less than two years of service have signed extensions in recent years. Walker is only six days shy of two years of service. If we look at second basemen who signed extensions with between two and three years of service, we get Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, Aaron Hill, Ian Kinsler, and Robinson Cano. Their contracts ranged from four to six years, guaranteed $12-40.5MM, and had at least one club option.
Walker owns a .280/.338/.423 line in 1171 plate appearances across 286 games, with 24 home runs, 149 RBI, 138 runs, and 12 steals. Kinsler's numbers through '07 are better, aside from RBI, but not wildly different. Kinsler signed a five-year, $22MM contract that paid $13MM for his three arbitration years and $7MM for a free agent year, plus a club option on another. The contract is four years old, however. Zobrist seems another decent comparable. He had much more service time than Walker, but a similar number of career plate appearances. Zobrist trumps Walker's home run total and platform year but was similar career-wise. But even coming off an MVP-caliber year, Zobrist signed a four-year deal worth $18MM with a pair of club options. He received $14.5MM for his three arbitration years.
Neither Kinsler nor Zobrist was a Super Two player. Walker must be compensated for four arbitration years, perhaps at $18-20MM total. If the contract is to include one free agent season it'd probably be around $8MM. A five-year, $27MM deal beginning with the 2013 season could be fair for Walker. From the Pirates' point of view, Walker doesn't have the power or service time of Kinsler of Zobrist, perhaps justifying the inclusion of two club options for the Hendricks Sports client.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
The latest on several Central division clubs...
- The Pirates are not currently engaged in contract extension discussions for Neil Walker, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The second baseman is under team control through 2016, and will be eligible for arbitration after the 2012 season if he qualifies as a Super Two player.
- Roy Oswalt's agent Bob Garber is expected to meet with the Royals today or tomorrow in Milwaukee, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Garber's agency also represents C.J. Wilson. Kansas City's interest in Oswalt is minimal, however, cautions a Royals source (Twitter link).
- SI's Jon Heyman hears scuttlebutt that if Jim Crane is approved as Astros owner this week, he may spend on a free agent or two. Click here to read my offseason outlook for the team.
- The Tigers have scouted Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes several times, assistant GM Al Avila told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Cubs and White Sox could lose possible supplemental draft picks if Type B compensation is eliminated this winter, explains Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Of course, under the current system the player has to receive and turn down an arbitration offer for compensation to be possible. For a look at all the Type B free agents, click here.
The Pirates are deep into extension talks with Neil Walker, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Talks between the two sides are proceeding well, but a final agreement isn't imminent. The Pirates would like to sign Walker to a long-term deal similar to the one Jose Tabata is nearing.
Walker, 25, projects to be arbitration eligible after the 2012 season as a super two player. He is on track to go to arbitration four times and hit free agency after the 2016 campaign. The former first rounder has a .271/.333/.396 line this year with 10 homers and 21 doubles in 507 plate appearances this season.
Let's round up some assorted Sunday links....
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets that the A's finished second to the Reds in the chase for Aroldis Chapman.
- A major league source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox tried hard to sign Chapman earlier in the offseason. They pulled their initial offer after Chapman switched agents and never offered another formal deal.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic finds it hard to imagine Brandon Webb returning to the D'Backs after 2010.
- Jamey Newberg wonders if Vladimir Guerrero will "revive his pinball numbers by playing half his games in his favorite arcade." Vlad has a career 1.175 OPS in Texas, but Jack Moore of FanGraphs suggests this stat is overblown.
- Within his Sunday blog entry, ESPN.com's Buster Olney addresses the persistent rumors about a potential reunion for Johnny Damon and the Yankees. Olney says that a few executives around the league "are absolutely convinced" that Damon will end up in the Bronx, but that it would require Damon significantly lowering his asking price and initiating contact with the Yanks.
- FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Dodgers avoided arbitration with Jason Repko, signing him to a one-year deal worth $500K. Repko should compete for the team's fourth outfield spot.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that injuries have slowed the development of Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, whose name frequently pops up in trade rumors.
- Pittsburgh's 2004 first-round pick, Neil Walker, could be without a position at Triple-A this year, and is a candidate to be traded, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Indians hope that at least one of Austin Kearns and Shelley Duncan makes the 25-man roster, to add a right-handed bat to their lefty-heavy outfield.