The Pirates and Gregory Polanco were known to be taking a second try at working out a long-term deal after last year’s negotiations didn’t result in an agreement, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the sides have again decided to put their extension talks on hold. According to Heyman, the two sides will revisit an extension following the 2015 season.
Of course, by that point, the price tag could rise significantly for Pittsburgh. The 23-year-old Polanco has been considered one of baseball’s brightest young players for quite some time, as he first began to surface on Top 100 prospect lists prior to the 2013 season. Last year, Polanco hit .328/.390/.504 with seven homers and 16 steals in 305 Triple-A plate appearances before being called up to the Majors. Polanco was the talk of baseball when he hit .338/.416/.441 through his first 16 games, but he cooled and finished the season with a .235/.307/.343 line.
A big year for Polanco would likely make the asking price for his agents at the Beverly Hills Sports Council significantly higher, though they also run the risk of Polanco’s struggles continuing and Pittsburgh significantly reducing the bounds of its comfort zone. Per Heyman’s report, the Pirates were willing to make Polanco the highest-ever offer for a player with less than one year of service time — Chris Archer’s $20MM extension currently holds that distinction — but the two sides weren’t able to agree on the salaries of the option years that would be included in the deal.
The Pirates already control Polanco through at least the 2020 season, which will be his age-28 season. Locking in Polanco to a deal with at least one club option would ensure that both he and Starling Marte are under team control through the 2021 season. Center fielder and 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen is under club control through the 2018 season.