Both Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and John Perrotto of PiratesReport.com are reporting that the Pirates asked Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez to take sizable pay cuts when they presented them with contract extension offers yesterday. Wilson, who is making $7.25MM this year, was offered a two year deal plus a club option. Financial terms aren't known, but the offer reportedly includes a significant pay cut. Perrotto says the club has already privately decided to buy out Wilson's $8.4MM option for 2010 for $600k.
Sanchez, who is only 252 plate appearances away from having his $8MM option for 2010 vest, was offered a two year deal worth around $10MM. The extension reportedly seeks forfeiture of that 2010 option as well. Kovacevic says that he feels the team is "most interested in securing Wilson and trading Sanchez."
The Pirates have given both players a small window of opportunity to accept the deals, as they want to have as much time as possible to work out trades should the players reject the offers, according to Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"This is something that needs to be resolved quickly, one way or the other," general manager Neal Huntington said Friday. "If there isn't common ground, I think we'll know pretty quickly. We can't let it linger and inhibit the trade process."
"Instead of trading and wondering what could've been, we decided to step forward and see if there's something that could be done to keep them here," Huntington said.
"If a perfect world, we bring them both back under contracts that are favorable to them and favorable to us. But if we get one, then we get one. If we can't either, we can't get either."
Biertempfel echoes what FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi wrote yesterday, that the team might be making lowball offers that Wilson and Sanchez have no choice but to reject just to they can come back and say they tried to extend them before making a trade. The team was heavily criticized when they traded Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan in separate deals earlier this year.