The Pirates may say goodbye to second baseman Neil Walker after the season, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittburgh Tribune-Review. He’s set to earn at least $10MM in his final year of arbitration eligibility. Due to a balky back and the availability of Jung-ho Kang, Jordy Mercer, and Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh may prefer to commit that money to another position. Of course, the Pirates will probably never reach the point of actually non-tendering Walker. Plenty of teams should be interested in a one-year flier on the 30-year-old. Biertempfel offers a fascinating look at Walker who is actually a Pittsburgh native. It’s well worth a read.
- Pittsburgh should actually extend Walker, opines Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Rossi refers to Walker as a fan favorite and lauds his clubhouse presence. Rossi suggests a four-year, $47MM contract as a reasonable compromise. Of course, the notoriously penurious club does have a wealth of affordable middle infield depth with Kang, Harrison, and Mercer on the roster. Prospect Alen Hanson is also close to major league ready. Presumably, Walker could return a decent player via trade too. While it’s tough to part with a hometown fan favorite, sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
- A hot October could lead Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to his desired six-year contract, writes Mark Townsend of Yahoo. While teams may be concerned about offering a big guarantee through his age 36 season, they may be willing to swallow the risk if they can bank on production early in the contract. Of course, no player is a sure thing to repeat past exploits. Postseason success would certainly go a long way towards assuaging any doubts. I said the same earlier tonight when examining the players who most improved their free agent stock.
- The Padres are pleased with Jedd Gyorko’s development at shortstop, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. The Friars began the experiment to keep both Cory Spangenberg and Gyorko in the lineup. While there is obviously concern about his defense, his offense easily ranks among the best at the position. Advanced statistics like UZR aren’t a fan of his work, but a one month sample is way too small to form a judgment. He hasn’t committed an error and makes all the routine plays. A NL West scout even suggested that he looks more comfortable at short than second. If the club thinks he can continue to man the position in 2016, it could save them from scrounging through the free agent shortstop market.