Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the latest regarding new GM Neal Huntington’s plans for closer Matt Capps and second baseman Freddy Sanchez.
Capps, 24, posted a fine 2007 (2.28 ERA) in his first year as the Pirates’ closer. He’d be under team control through 2011 anyway if the Pirates went year-to-year with him. But Huntington has an offer to Capps out for three or four years, buying out most or all of his arbitration years. Kovacevic notes that this is a strategy Huntington observed under Mark Shapiro in Cleveland.
Huntington appears to have less faith in 30 year-old second baseman Sanchez. He seems to have developed into a solid .800 OPS guy, and his second half in ’07 showed further upside. Sanchez has two more years under team control; if the Pirates gave him an extension they’d want it to buy out his first year of free agency in 2010. Sanchez would probably not be amenable to that, but even going two years would give the Pirates more cost certainty. At any rate, it would make sense for Huntington to entertain offers on Sanchez.