As the losses and walk-off challenges pile up for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Gregory Polanco watch continues.
As Polanco continues to sit in the minors, while the Pirates wait for the “Super 2″ cutoff to pass, the team took steps to assure that the highly-touted prospect would have opened the season with the major league club.
The Pirates reportedly recently made Polanco a seven-year contract offer that would have guaranteed him just under $25 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Polanco rejected the extension, which included three club options on the back end.
Even more details on the reported contract offer came from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Heyman reports that the options came with relatively low values given what Polanco may ultimately hope to command through free agency, but Heyman says they would have pushed the total achievable value of the deal into the $50 million to $60 million range.
That’s not a bad first paycheck for a player that has never had a major league at bat.
The reported contract offer would have bought out Polanco’s six years of team control and first free agent season, while transferring control to the team over three more years of potential free agent eligibility.
That’s a similar deal that the Houston Astros reportedly recently offered George Springer, which Springer also declined.
Polanco, 22, a perceived five-toll player, is off to an impressive start in his first lengthy stint at the highest level of the minors. Through 127 plate appearances at Triple-A Indianapolis, he has an insane .397/.449/.621 line with four home runs and six stolen bases.
What this reported contract offer does suggest though is that the Pirates know Polanco is ready, otherwise they wouldn’t have offered him a deal that could span the next decade.
Factor in the fact that the Pirates are sitting at 13-20 and have a team OPS of just .682 and the need for Polanco is imminent. Especially when you consider that the Pirates current right-field trio of Jose Tabata, Travis Snider and Josh Harrison have failed as a trio (Harrison’s look has been brief), combining to post a .238/.294/.357 line so far in 193 at-bats.
Polanco is a victim of MLB’s service time rules that allow top prospects to get buried in the minors until mid-June or later. Because those rules are in place, it benefits the Pirates to leave him down there until then. That’s not being cheap, it’s being smart. The Pirates aren’t the only franchise who does this to their top prospects.
The fact that he didn’t accept this deal – and he shouldn’t have if he is half the player many expect him to be – means that the Super 2 status is the sole determining factor on when we will see Polanco in a Pirates uniform.
Like it or not, you probably won’t be seeing Polanco until June.