Pirates Open to Discussing an Extension With Neil Walker

Jon Morosi reports that Neal Huntington says the Pittsburgh Pirates are open to discussing an extension with second baseman Neil Walker.

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. ┬áThat 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.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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