Earlier this evening, we heard from union chief Tony Clark on a variety of topics. Clark is also closely monitoring revenue sharing, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune. The MLBPA head was vague about any specific clubs they’re monitoring, saying things like “there may be teams that are of interest early that may not be late because of considerations that are being made.” The Pirates were once on the player union’s radar for not spending shared funds, but their recent on-field success probably has them in the clear – for now.
Here’s more from Pittsburgh:
- Pirates ace Gerrit Cole is upset after the club renewed his salary for $541K, writes Biertempfel. Because Cole has fewer than three seasons of major league service, the Pirates can renew his contract at any rate – typically near the major league minimum. He played for $531K last season and received a $10K bonus for reaching the All Star Game. The team’s initial offer this year was for $538K, and they threatened a pay cut to the $507K league minimum when Cole expressed a desire for a raise. As Cole put it, “When you perform at a level that draws the praise of management, teammates, coaches and fans, you expect appropriate compensation. I understand the business of this game, but it is hard to accept that a year of performance success does not warrant an increase in pay.” The initial $538K offer was due to a team policy that caps raises at $7K for any player with fewer than three seasons of major league service. Cole does not want the situation to become a distraction for the team.
- The Pirates have much to weigh when considering an extension to franchise icon Andrew McCutchen, writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune. The club can ill afford to make a costly mistake with a mega-extension. McCutchen is under contract for $48.5MM over three more seasons including a club option for 2018 ($1MM buyout). A seven-year extension would keep him in Pittsburgh through his age 38 season. The history of similar extensions is off putting. Sawchik finds a list of 16 players who signed nine-figure contracts under similar circumstances. Consider the names of David Wright, Joe Mauer, Ryan Howard, Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and Matt Kemp. Others like Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki, and Evan Longoria could look just as bad in the near future. As former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd explains, any massive extension has to be about more than just performance. If ticket and merchandise sales won’t cover an ugly back end of the deal, then the club may be best served to move on from McCutchen.