Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have offered Gregory Polanco a ten year contract, and that the outfielder rejected the deal. The reported deal would have been seven years with a guarantee of a little less than $25 M, along with three option years. The seven years would buy out Polanco’s years of control, while the three option years would take care of his first three years of free agency.
This sounds similar to the situation that the Houston Astros were in with George Springer, when they offered him a long-term deal during Spring Training, then sent him down when he rejected. The reason Polanco is currently down is due to Super Two status. Passan indicates that he probably would be in the majors right now if he accepted the extension, and I think that’s correct. This is not a good situation for the Pirates to be in, as Polanco could take the same route as Springer, and threaten legal action. I don’t believe Springer ever seriously pursued that, and the Astros brought him up after a few weeks, getting an extra year of control.
As for the contract, the $25 M sounds about right for where Polanco is with his development. He has zero experience in the majors. By comparison, Starling Marte signed an extension for $31 M guaranteed, buying out control of his first three free agent years. That deal came after Marte had one full season and one partial season in the majors.
Not many players sign deals this early in their careers. The one player who stands out here is Evan Longoria, who signed a six year, $17.5 M deal, with three option years. That deal included a clause for Super Two status, which Longoria eventually received, paying him a few million more.
Polanco is the type of guy who you’d want to extend early. He might not be a star player when he arrives, but he projects to be a star player in the future, and the earlier you can get him under control, the better.
UPDATE 8:25 PM: Jon Heyman adds to the report that Polanco could have received $50-60 M over the course of the deal if all three option years were picked up. By comparison, Andrew McCutchen’s deal paid a maximum of $65 M for two free agent years. Marte’s deal pays $52 M maximum for three free agent years. So it seems that the deal for Polanco would be in line with the other two outfielders.
UPDATE 8:39 PM: The Pirates issued a no-comment, comment from General Manager Neal Huntington:
“As we have done in prior situations, we will refrain from commenting on any player specific contract rumors.”