Jon Morosi reports that Neal Huntington says the Pittsburgh Pirates are open to discussing an extension with second baseman Neil Walker.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington indicated today that the team is open to discussing an extension with Neil Walker this offseason.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2013
I wrote last month that there is no need to extend Walker. The Pirates have him under team control for the next three seasons, and through his age 31 season. An extension signs him for ages 32 and beyond. He’s good offensively for a second baseman, ranking eighth of 26 second baseman with a .757 OPS, ninth with a 114 wRC+, and tenth with a .333 wOBA. However, his defense is below average, which makes him an average to above-average player at best at second. That was all at the age of 27, which should be a prime year for Walker. There’s a good chance he could decline at age 32-33, especially when you consider his injury history that has already appeared at a younger age.
The only way a Walker extension would make sense is if it was a team-friendly extension made for cost certainty over the next three years. That might allow the Pirates to operate with more certainty when offering multi-year free agent deals to other players. But there’s no need to extend Walker, and he might not be needed beyond the 2015 season, with a possible Alen Hanson/Jordy Mercer middle infield ready to take over by mid-season 2015.