Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates tried to extend Gregory Polanco during the early part of the season, but the two sides were never able to complete a deal. The Pirates reportedly offered a deal that could have paid Polanco up to $75 M over a ten year period, with a lot of that being non-guaranteed and coming through option years at the end of his deal.
Jon Heyman reports that the two sides have started talking about a deal again. He didn’t give any details, although he did say that the two sides don’t want the discussions going long into the season.
To get an idea of Polanco’s market, you’d have to look at the recently signed contracts of Christian Yelich and Starling Marte. Yelich, who is entering his age 23 season, put up a 4.3 WAR last year. He received a seven year, $49.5 M deal, with a $15 M option and a $1.25 M buyout in 2022. That would make the deal worth $63.25 M over eight years, with the possibility for that option to increase based on his standings in MVP voting.
Marte also signed after his first full season, and after putting up a WAR over 4.0. He received $31 M over six years, with two option years that could add an additional $21 M. That would make his deal worth $52 M over eight years, although Marte was entering his age 25 season when he signed the deal.
Polanco hasn’t had the big breakout year that Yelich and Marte had, so it might be difficult seeing him getting the same type of guaranteed money. He’s actually three months older than Yelich, and doesn’t have the advantage of the breakout year, which hurts his negotiating power at this point.
It would be great if the Pirates could lock up Polanco. This is the best way for them to spend money right now. But they might have to be aggressive to get a deal done soon. If Polanco has a breakout season this year, just like Yelich and Marte had in their first full seasons, then he would be able to command a lot of guaranteed money, along with additional money through option years. My guess is that he’d be worth what Yelich signed for if he has a breakout year and signs next season. So it might not be a bad idea to get aggressive and offer a deal similar to what Marte received, with an extra year thrown in since Polanco would be signing a year earlier.