Pirates Option Gregory Polanco and Duke Welker to Indianapolis

The Pittsburgh Pirates have optioned outfielder Gregory Polanco and right handed pitcher Duke Welker to Indianapolis. The Pirates now have 51 players remaining in camp.

Polanco isn’t a surprise to be optioned, since he was expected to start the season in Triple-A. I’d imagine there might be some discussion whether he should have remained in Pittsburgh. I talked about the reasons why the team would send him down earlier this week. Expect Polanco in the majors in June or July, depending on his progression in Triple-A.

Welker also isn’t a surprise, since the bullpen looks like it will be hard to make. He has one option remaining, meaning this is his final year where he can go back and forth between Triple-A and the majors. I’d expect him to be up at some point this year as depth. Welker is a guy who I like for a full time bullpen role in the future, and he could get that shot in 2015 if he does well in his expected time in the majors this year.

  • I care less about the super 2, and more about the fact that two very strong players are being sent down. I’m not opposed to it, but I think it does reflect some strong depth within the organization overall. I continue to feel great about that and hope these kinds of events happen with future years. It is a sign of a healthy club IMO.

  • Well if you’re extending a contract and the guy qualifies for super 2 that has an effect on it. The agent is now basing the extension off of a different, more expensive number. And this also has an effect on the player’s trade value (though more minimal).

  • Just thinking out loud here – isn’t too much weight placed on super 2 status? Note I specifically referring to super 2, not years of control (years of control are absolutely important). Here’s why: super 2 mostly matters in the final year of control (if you look at total compensation over a player’s rookie deal). Before a player reaches his final year of control, it is optimal to either extend the player or trade player before the final year (the Rays model). So, if a prospect is ready, why not bring the guy up in early May (or whatever the exact date is to not waste a year of control). Am I missing something here?

    • Any agent worth his salt will take into account super 2 status when negotiating an extension and the FO will be forced to as well, so if an extension is signed during arb years (or even prior to them), it will still hurt the pocketbook along the same lines as just going year-to-year with arb.
      If you’re talking specifically about Polanco, it would be a totally different story if he tore up AAA for half a season last year. But he literally played 2 games in AAA (plus maybe a couple playoff games?) and didn’t even tear up AA for the rest of the season. I know he was MVP of the Winter League which may be similar to AAA, but that’s still a SSS. No need to rush him.

    • You guys are right – extensions are mostly based on expectations surrounding arbitration years. I was thinking more about buying out free agent years.