2015 Right Field Recap: Is Gregory Polanco Primed For a Breakout in 2016?

Gregory Polanco has the upside to be a star player in the majors. So far, that hasn’t happened, although he’s only spent one full season in the majors, and just turned 24 at the end of the 2015 season, so it’s still early.

Polanco showed some good signs in 2015. Overall, he had a 2.3 WAR, which was largely fueled by his base running and defense. He’s got a plus arm, and proved to be a guy you shouldn’t run on in right field. He also stole 27 bases, providing value in the running game.

There were some encouraging signs that Polanco was starting to take steps towards his upside, but they were largely hidden behind the scenes, and less obvious than the success with throwing out runners and stealing bases. He had a slow start to the season, with struggles in April, May, and June. He started heating up in July and August, putting up some great numbers. And it would have been great to say that he showed a ton of improvement in the second half, with that improvement possibly being carried into the 2016 season. But he ended up slumping in September, and posting one of his worst offensive months of the year.

PolancoSecondHalf

That said, there was still a lot to like behind the surface numbers, even in September. In terms of making hard contact, his three best months were the final three months of the year, all finishing over 30%. That includes 30.7% in September. He also finished with his third lowest soft contact rate in September, at 16.8%. By comparison, the league average this year for hard contact was 28.6%, and the league average for soft contact was 18.6%. Polanco was above average in both during the month of September, but didn’t see the results you’d expect him to see with that type of contact.

A big part of this was due to his unlucky tendency to hit balls right at fielders. I saw this first hand in many of the games I covered, with Polanco smoking a lot of 100+ MPH hits off the bat, only to see them go right to a fielder. This happened in the Wild Card game, when he smashed a ball 107 MPH right into Kris Bryant’s glove in the sixth inning.

If Polanco keeps hitting the ball hard, he will eventually start getting hits. His BABIP was a very unlucky .265 in September, which doesn’t make sense, as he had one of his best line drive rates (21.2%) and one of his lowest fly ball rates (36.4%). Typically, line drives have the biggest BABIP success rate, and fly balls have the lowest success rate. A combination of more line drives and fewer fly balls would lead to a much higher BABIP, rather than one of his lowest rates of the year.

Polanco is a young player. He’s still developing in the majors, and one season isn’t nearly enough to call him a finished product. The tools are there to be a great all-around hitter, and if the second half trends with harder contact continue, he will see much better results in 2016. Add improved hitting to a guy who provides a lot of defensive value and value on the bases, and you’ve got a star player. It may not look like he’s close to that when you look at the overall numbers, but digging a little deeper shows that he’s closer to that upside than he appears.

The Future

The Pirates have their outfield locked up for a few years. Andrew McCutchen is under team control through the 2018 season. Polanco is under control through 2020, and Starling Marte is under control through the 2021 season. The Pirates extended Marte and McCutchen to have them under control for a longer period of time, but haven’t reached an extension with Polanco yet.

That’s not surprising. There has been a lot of talk the last two years about the two sides discussing extensions, including Polanco turning down a deal that would have guaranteed him $20-25 M and paid upwards of $75 M for ten years. It’s hard to say at this point whether he’s smart for turning the deal down, or whether he should have taken the money. A breakout year next year would allow him to command over double the guaranteed money, while still getting upwards of $75 M in fewer years.

The key here is that it’s still very early. Polanco just wrapped up his first full season in the majors. By comparison, Marte signed an extension before Spring Training in his second full season in the majors. McCutchen signed his deal during Spring Training of his third full season. On those same timelines, a Polanco extension would happen either this Spring or next Spring.

Right now it might actually benefit him to wait it out another year. If the hard-hit numbers are legit, and carry over to next year, he will have a much better overall 2016 season than he did in 2015. That would lead to more guaranteed money, and the potential for more money overall in a shorter time span. The risk is that he might not break out, and might see those numbers go the opposite way. But the signs are encouraging enough for Polanco that it wouldn’t be a bad decision if he rolled the dice one more year.

That doesn’t mean the Pirates can’t try to extend him. It would make a lot of sense to do that this off-season, even if they’re paying for future performance that isn’t quite guaranteed at this point. They could pay a bit more than his current numbers are worth, and still get a potential value in the future if he does break out. There’s still some risk involved in extending him, but I still think he’s a guy they need for the long-term.

If it doesn’t happen this year, I wouldn’t count it out completely, as a lot of players wait until their final league minimum year for an extension. The fact that there was so much talk between the two sides about an extension shows there is interest in the subject. And usually when there is that kind of interest, a deal eventually gets done.

Overall, I’d be surprised if Polanco ends up only under control through the 2020 season. Whether an extension happens this off-season or next off-season, I’m guessing it will eventually go down, just like it did with McCutchen and Marte.

  • I think Polonco is going to be a star sooner rather than later. It wouldn’t be a tremendous surprise to me if he didn’t surpass Cutch as the Pirates best player in 2016.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    November 6, 2015 8:24 am

    Actually, I thought 2015 was supposed to be Polanco’s breakout year? There was probably article like this, right around this time last year?
    Anyway, after a miserable start, Polanco ended up having a decent season. He still has a ways to go…to be more consistent and not disappear for stretches of games. He’s not a ideal leadoff batter, which is part of the problem. He can draw walks and has some speed, but you would rather have someone with his power and run producing potential further down in the lineup. As McCutchen gets older and eventually slows down, I can Polanco taking over the #3 spot.
    BTW, saw that JaCoby Jones is now suspended for 50 games, for a second failed drug test. I don’t get it with so many players today, why they feel the need to cheat the system – when they have all the talent that most of them have. Just dumb – and selfish. Hopefully, for him, its a wakeup call and he learns from it.

  • One thing I found very encouraging was the quality of abs he started taking vs lefties sometime in July. He looked so much better. Still some holes in that part of his game but I expect him to be much better in that regard next season.

    • There are two thought provoking articles in Sunday’s Tribune Review by Travis Sawchuk. One is all about Pirates intent to upgrade their offense this offseason. The other is about the use of advanced metrics in scouting to help hitters. What is most interesting about the main article is an analysis of the Bucs decline in power over the last three years, and the argument that there is a correlation between power and postseason success. Check it out.

  • Unfortunately, I disagree we are likely to extend Gp unless it happens quite soon or he really has a bad 2016. If he is anywhere near 3 war player I think he is likely to just wait out his arb years. The fact he hasn’t signed already makes me think he is unlikely to do so especially if his game breakouts.

  • I love polanco and really hope they can extend him before season starts. I’m predicting at least 3.5 war this year, probably over 4.

  • I am more in favor of not trading Polonco. I also think he has a big upside. Carlos Gonzalez would look good in the lineup but he does come with a large salary. And 2 other reasons I wouldnt go for it: the money needs to go toward pitching and you are then blocking Austin Meadows and Harold Ramirez. The Pirates have alot of young talented outfielders. The outfield is not a concern. I also think that Josh Bell has alot more potential than Yonder Alonzo. The Pirates has a pretty deep farm system. This is the reason the Pirates won 98 games. The immediate goal is finding a 3rd starter until Glasnow and Tailon is ready and determining what the future plans are for Pedro, Neil Walker and Mark Melancon. Should make it an interesting winter.

  • Well done, Tim.

    Polanco undoubtedly progressed in the second half, but hard hit rate and BABIP luck doesn’t necessarily explain his September Swoon (hey, I can be a sportswriter, too!). His exit velocity cratered over the first three weeks of the month; three of the worst four weeks over the course of the entire season, in fact. A .265 BABIP isn’t out of the question over a short sample with contact quality like that.

    More so, banking on BABIP luck isn’t a great way for a sustained break out. Just as Polanco isn’t a true talent .265 BABIP hitter, he sure as heck isn’t a true talent .386 BABIP hitter as he was in his most productive month, August.

    In order to truly break out, he’s going to have to learn how to leverage his swing into more power production.

    For all the hand-wringing by media, fans, and especially the team about his long swing and susceptibility to being beaten with inside heat, pitchers overwhelmingly attacked him on the outside part of the plate and they did it with success. A hitter with his length should be feasting on balls that allow him to extend and drive. He simply is not doing that, and won’t ever be much more than an average hitter until he does. Look for less pulled ground balls and more lifted contact before expecting a true breakout.

    Regardless, he’s a great example of why you target players with a well-rounded skill set. Kid is already an average Major League ballplayer even with struggles at the plate because he can impact the game in the field and on the bases.

    • Always love your hitting analysis bc I think it’s spot on. I want to see Gregory cover the outside pitch better and drive the ball…if he does that I think he could be a special, special player.

      • Very much agree.

        To my eye, Polanco’s approach the other way is the slashing style that’ll never be conducive to driving the ball with power. You watch the most productive oppo hitters and they all let the ball travel before lifting and driving. Hell, watch Josh Harrison drive the ball to right compared to Polanco. Polanco has about 9 inches, 40 pounds, and *at least* a full grade more of raw power than Harrison but doesn’t get near as much usage out of it.

        Swinging down on the ball as Polanco does, to me, is what creates all those rolled over ground balls when he’s the slightest bit off in timing. Pulling the ball is good for someone like Polanco, as shown in his career splits, but he has to lift and drive.

        • I loved the discussion tonight of Conforto’s swing and his surge in pull-power. I’d love to see Polanco stay back and both to the pull-side and oppo increase his power.

    • Agree on several points, I never got the idea that Polanco’s swing was “long,” because as you say if it was he would be getting inside fastballs.

      He seems to take a Joey Votto like two strike approach on all outside pitches, I think this is something that can be improved upon. It is much easier to teach patient hitter to be aggressive, than the other way around. And I think it is easier to teach a hitter with sound contact skills how to counteract how pitchers are attacking you, than teaching a lower contact hitter how to maximize his contact.

      • Very, very much agree with your last point on teaching. Pirates, in my opinion, have been targeting the right kind of hitters and at least talk a good game on what they want them to do from there regarding power. I’d just like to see that actually work. Big year coming up, both in terms of hitter and pitcher development.

  • GP probably has the highest upside of any current Pirate. I would be shocked if the front office thought any different. I dont see any trade here especially if GP is extended on team friendly basis. I hope we really start bringing up the younger players next year to complement GP and the veterans.

  • Its articles like this, especially the graphic, is why this is such a quality site.

    Reminded me of another article from a couple months ago, I thought was pretty good.
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2015/9/11/9309187/mlb-pirates-gregory-polanco-defense-playoffs

    Facts are facts. He is slowly making progress and is position to break out. He has to.

  • Truth is it seems to me that the Pirates don’t do a great job of utilizing their talent. Marte and Polanco both should be 40 steal players. Polanco had a 2.3 WAR and should be a 4 WAR player consistently as he develops…if we can get 12-15 WAR out of our OF we will be a consistently competent team if not a contending teambut we need to get the most our of our guys…and it would be nice to have one power bat in the lineup who wasn’t a replacement value player in the NL.

    • Id venture to guess the team sees both as able to steal 40, but they also place a high value on keeping their steal rate upwards of 70%. So aggressive but with respect to the situation and the catcher. Not gonna run on Yadi a ton, not gonna run in certain situations when a power hitter is up.

      With Polanco, it seemed like they stopped running him when they realized they needed to work on his slides and keeping him on the bag. He didnt attempt a steal for awhile after 3-4 pop up issues.

      • If I had to guess, the biggest issue is that those guys spent most of their time hitting in front of Cutch (as you alluded to). Opening up 1B for one of the best hitters in the league isn’t the best idea in a lot of cases.

        • That wouldn’t happen with a competent hitter behind him in the lineup

          • Yes, it would.

            There is no amount of sane logic that states a pitcher would rather throw to Cutch, one of the best hitters in the game, simply because a competent hitter was behind him. You don’t pitch to the better player because a weaker one is behind him.

            • Yes you do when you weigh that vs. having another player on base. There is a point where it evens out, and that point occurs when the player hitting after Cutch isn’t so weak as to push that balance.

          • I know a lot of guys believe in hitter protection so I don’t blame you for it, but there’s no evidence out there that shows hitters of Cutch’s caliber can be “protected”.

            Guys like Cutch should be *used* as protection, slotted behind a guy like Marte who is a lesser hitter that would benefit from seeing better pitches. Doesn’t work the other way around.

              • Exactly.

                • Similar to what Arrieta said. A lot of those guys dont care. They have a plan, thats what their going to do. Where I do think lineup construction matters, is to avoid multiple poor hitters in a row.

                • But i dont disagree with Jared on putting a good hitter behind Cutch. When Kang found his stride, it was in that 4 and 5 hole. And it was there the offense took off until about 10 days+ Coughlin.

                  • Kang had a .741 OPS as a 4-hitter.

                    I’m fairly certain Major League pitchers were not deciding to feed Andrew McCutchen fastballs over the plate because of that.

                    Back to your linked article…Victor Martinez backing up Miggy, Hanley backing up Papi, any number of ridiculous sluggers backing up Donaldson. Those guys protecting the best hitters aren’t just “competent” or “good”, they’re also some of the best hitters in the game. Which is exactly why the idea of “protecting” Cutch, if even possible, is almost a pipe dream for the Pirates unless they develop a slugger of their own.

                    More than the ” lineup protection” narrative, the Pirates just need a couple guys that can capitalize on Cutch getting on base.

                    • I’m more than fine with changing my stated position to something like: it would be nice to have more higher caliber hitters in the lineup haha.

            • I don’t think protection exists in the way most usually talk about it…but I DO think it exists. I think with Kang behind him Cutch saw better pitches, especially the way Kang was hitting, and I think that gave us a better chance to score runs 2-3-4 in the lineup.

            • Marte’s value is running more than hitting, so putting cutch behind him negating his running value causes more harm than good, plus he hits a lot of bad pitches like Harrison and so pitch quality isn’t as important for that type of player. Your logic makes much more sense if you are putting a hitter like Alvarez 3rd in front of Cutch hitting 4th, or a player similar that needs good pitches to hit to have value- I’m trying to think of another player which would be suitable for this type of approach…..maybe walker? probably moreso Kang actually. Put Kang 3rd, Cutch 4th. Behind Polanco and Marte or Harrison

          • Every single time Cutch is up with a runner on, he’s either going to be pitched around or the pitcher makes a mistake. Unless Harper is behind him, he’s the most dangerous hitter and even Kang behind him is less a threat than Cutch.

        • Problem is……you need the runner at 2nd for Cutch to drive in, not for Cutch to move to second so they can be left on base or part of a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. This is why moving Cutch to cleanup makes more sense, you need someone in that area of the lineup to ensure Cutch is hitting with runners in scoring position more often.

          • You sure as heck don’t. Second base only matters for the guys who think RISP stats are instructive.

            This is the advantage power buys you in a lineup. With an sort of speed and Cutch’s power, you don’t need a guy on second to create run scoring opportunities.

            As for Marte, specifically, he gets far, far more value at the plate than on the bases, at least in the stealing sense. Not even close.

            • I’m not sure if you realize this NMR, but Cutch is not an elite power hitter. He is a GREAT overall hitter, but Kang probably has a better % of scoring runners from second than Cutch does of scoring them from first, in fact that would be the case with most players on the team. Lets be realistic here. Marte’s value above replacement at the plate is not higher than his value in base running vs. replacement, and if it is, then it furthers my point that he should be running more, which I posted earlier this week as well….

            • Disagreed vehemently. Cutch is in no way, an elite “power” hitter. He is a elite hitter in general, but overall you will find that Kang has more success scoring runners from second, than cutch has scoring them from first. It’s just probability, you can’t discount it. The only player on the team whom you can say has almost a chance of it not mattering if a player is on second or first……..is alvarez, whom is likely to k or hit a homerun or walk, which is the only time base runner position is irrelevant.

              My point here is….create space to get the runner to second by stealing (which is way more likely to be succesful than our awful bunting and generally terrible ability to hit situationally) especially early in the game where they are less likely to pitch around cutch. Also, having someone after cutch whom is hard to double up would make it less beneficial for them (the other team) to walk him to set up a double play (a huge problem with Ramirez this year)

      • Not to mention the beating those players would take.

        • That is a very overlooked point. BTW, tune into the Rangers Page on MLB – they are looking inside the org for the next pitching coach and Coach Andy (Jeff Andrews) is in the mix. I do not think he was given much of an opportunity by the Pirates, but he landed on his feet back in the Texas org.

      • That’s true, i noticed that as well Luke- This had better be 100% overcome by day 10 of Spring Training though- and Marte definitely should be hitting in a part of the order where he runs more- whatever that is. They totally should be able to be 40-50 in stolen base attempts or close to it. If he doesn’t go, there is such a thing as a “steal” sign. Might have been stolen by cutch before the 2014 season, but i’m sure they can track it down.

        • I think 40 is reachable, but idk if they’ll have Marte at 50. I think he could reach 50, but it’ll come because he’s going more and taking more risks. And from a team standpoint, its not useful if you arent stealing at a 70% success rate.

          Marte at the 5 would help that (with a healthy Kang hitting 4th). If the team doesnt have to pretend to give Pedro the 6th spot in the order, it’d be great to throw Cervelli at the 2 and Walker at the 6. Thats a pretty solid 1-6, with Morse being non terrible at 7.

          • Pretend to give Pedro the 6th spot? The team will be damn lucky to get 60+ runs created out of the 6th or 7th hole with Mercer and the pitcher backing that up.

            • My problem with that is if Pedro is hitting well,move him up. He’s a power bat and if the guys behind him are an issue, get that bat hitting 5th. If you dont trust him at 5, he’s got no where. You’ll have “guys behind him offer no protection” 6 or lower and he’s not my ideal guy to hit 6th and take walks….because he doesnt take enough walks.

              He’ll hack because its where he gets his value.

          • I still think 50 attempts is quite reasonable, although I don’t see them doing it. I have no doubts that Marte would be able to be more than 35-50, I’d still expect him to be 40-50

    • Just think, if the Pirates REALLY had utilized their players’s talent better, they could have won possibly 110 – 115 games this past season ! Right Jared ?

      • You’re an egomaniacal idiot…but, yes, the Pirates could have found more wins throughout the year.

  • Polanco is going to be a stud super star type player. Speed, power, average and defense. If he wants to wait to sign long term more power to him. Pirates need to lock him down. I am high on him and think he will be better than Marte and Mc.

    • Better than Marte? Reasonable. Better than Cutch? Highly unlikely. Not as unlikely as me winning Mega Millions tonight, but in same zip code.

      • This might be right. However, I would wonder whether GP could put up similar WAR numbers to McCutchen’s best seasons at younger ages and, therefore, a longer time period. I think GP is a 4-5 WAR player if he runs more, gets on base more, and starts to see his hitting get back to where it should be/can be. A 4-5 WAR player is plenty of value.

      • eh- i don’t really think him being better than Marte is reasonable as Marte is still getting better in some ways (k % and increasing power)- and better than cutch 2012-2014 probably not but better than cutch 2015-2017- i think is more than reasonable

        • Bet you a beer Cutch’s combined fWAR for 15-17, will be better than Polanco’s.

          • Scott- you may very well be correct, but i bet it will be close considering I expect cutch to miss more games due to injury and him continuing to drop slightly in output as Polanco increases. I would take that beer bet just for fun (if we happen to remember this conversation in 3 years) it woul dbe fun to look back

  • The only way to trade Polanco is if the Pirates got someone like Park to play 1B and moving Josh Bell back to a position he knows better in RF. Polanco would command a very nice return in a trade so this cant be ruled out. However, in my estimation, the Pirates wont get Park and they will try to sign Polanco long-term by next offseason.

    • With the way he’s been lighting up Arizona now that he’s fully healthy, I think Jurickson Profar for Polanco could be a great win-win trade for both Pittsburgh and Texas.

      Even if Profar no longer has the arm for the left side of the infield, he’s considerably better than any guy the Pirates project to have manning 2B in the foreseeable future. Texas needs outfielders, and the Pirates could slot Bell back into his more natural RF position while easing him into 1B action before making the switch full-time once any number of Barrett Barnes, Willy Garcia, Austin Meadows.

      Profar shows he’s truly healthy and can play short next year, he’s basically untouchable. Now could be the time to finally solve the shortstop position for years to come.

      • I like your thinking. I think sign Park, trade Polanco, and move Bell back to right is a pretty solid idea. I think Polanco has a higher ceiling than Bell but Bell has a higher floor. Polanco for Profar sounds good to me.

        • If we do that, Bell should start actually playing RF ASAP. He wasnt exactly a plus fielder before the switch, and a lack of reps in an entire year mean before he’s given RF he needs a bit of a refresher or id expect really uneven play from him early on.

        • Bell might have had a higher floor 2 years ago (which i doubt), but now that Polanco has played ML ball and not flopped, I really don’t think that’s the case anymore. The floor cannot be higher for a player whom just started AAA vs. a player with a year and a half service time whom has improved- Tim would agree with me here.

          • I guess I say that based on Bell’s history of walking more than striking out.

            • That doesn’t mean much with his limited exposure to upper levels of minors. He could still come up and hit .250-.270 with no power, and since he has no speed and defensive value, that floor is much much lower if we are looking at total WAR

      • “he’s considerably better than any guy the Pirates project to have manning 2B in the foreseeable future.”
        What about Alen Hanson?

      • If you do that and sign Park how would you project out the offense over this year?

        • I see Cervelli regressing to a bit over league average but I think Profar’s offensive uprade over Mercer, if he can play short, more than makes up for that. If Park’s skills translate I’d be comfortable expecting that to cover Pedro’s loss, and don’t really expect considerable regression from any of the other regulars, so I’d think the offense would be at least a bit better than 2015 with any additional offense out of Bell or Marte icing on the cake.

      • I like the thinking, but Profar still isn’t throwing in game situations even in the AFL. There aren’t many examples of guys taking two years off due to injury and coming back strong. Profar has youth on his side, but it’s a huge risk giving up Polanco for that kind of uncertainty. Even in the best case scenario, if you do that deal this offseason, Profar probably needs a minimum of a half season at Indy, if not more. You’d pretty much have to look at that deal as for 2017-on, not this year.

        • No doubt about it, but I don’t think opportunities to add a potential five win player come around that often. Polanco could be that guy, but I’m still more comfortable with the kids coming up behind him making up for that loss.

      • considerably better than ANY pirates project for 2b? Have you seen how many of our top 20 prospects are 2b men? -beyond that we still have walker and Harrison Doesn’t make sense man, sorry…..

        • Walker might not even be on the Opening Day roster, Josh Harrison isn’t a first division starter in the Major Leagues, and you most certainly do not pass up the opportunity to add superstar talent because you have a bunch of Max Morolf’s already in the system.

          This club is generally past the point of plugging black holes. For the Pirates to take the next step, they’re going to have to improve on positions that are already solid. That involves risk, for sure, but it’s the only way they’ll get better.

          • It’s hard to say that any player 1 year removed from a 5 WAR season, no matter how flukish, isn’t a starter at second base on a playoff team I’ll let you have your opinion here, but i disagree vehemently. Now i’ll agree on the second paragraph…..its hard to make that decision on where to find value

          • Its always simply a matter of what cost for what level of improvement on what you have or think you have……that’s why i’m not a GM. Tough choices

  • I’d love to see them get him signed long term.

  • I’m sure I’m alone in this, but I wouldn’t mind if the team traded GP. In my crazy mind this team needs a honest to God slugger to protect McCutchen and GP might me the piece to bring that player in. Carlos Gonzalez will be that perfect fit, I know he’s expensive and GP war was better, but the line up will imo, be better balance.

    • Can CarGo play 1b? 🙂

    • I agree about the protection, but GP will be the player to provide that protection – I believe he’ll have the same kind of breakout that Nolan Arrenado had this year. GP should be hitting in the 4 hole next year.
      Early Lineup assembly: Harrison 3b, Marte LF, McC CF, GP RF, Alonzo 1b, PRNW 2b, Cervelli C, Hanson SS.

      • Yonder Alonzo?

      • Hanson is not playing SS. And Marte belongs in the 5 hole. this team needs a proven power hitting 1b ala Rizzo, Gonzalez, Fielder….. Is Davis LH? I can dream….

      • Arrenado comparison to Polanco- get this man away from the Kool-Aid, he’s lost it! 🙂 I’m just kidding of course, but that’s a pretty hefty projection that wouldn’t be shared by a single scout in the league. .270/.340/.450 with about 20 homers and 30 steals is this kids upside going into 2016

    • I think the problem is many see Polanco as pretty close to increasing his value in a sizeable way. If he does turn his hard hit numbers into a career high year, his value shoots up and we gave him up at an awkward time.

      If they want to deal him, waiting a year might be a good risk.

      • Scott Kliesen
        October 30, 2015 6:24 pm

        I think it’s a compound issue involving both his level of play and how Meadows continues to develop. If Meadows looks like he will be a highly productive OF, than I can see them moving Polanco if his performance stagnates over the next couple years.

        • Scott: Good point about Meadows and also throw into the mix the situation with Andrew McCutchen. His service will end just at that point where somebody may want to offer the Pirates a lot of money for their broadcasting rights. I believe that no owner or front office can let this guy walk with hundreds of millions of dollars up in the air.

          St Louis just finalized a long term deal for $1.5 Bil and 30% ownership of the broadcasting company and that is 2 years before it goes into effect. I think the Pirates are 3 or 4 years away from the expiration of their present broadcasting rights contract, so it will soon become a matter of discussion. Will ‘Cutch be a career Pirate? I think so.

    • Cargo outside of Colorado career – .752 OPS so in trading Polanco you may end up with Polanco without the upside and for far more money and less control.

    • Yeah you’re pretty close to alone. 😉

      • Royals seem to be doing okay without an htG slugger. Just put good players out there and it doesn’t matter how they produce as long as they produce.

        • Nobody ever mentions the Royals happen to be *historically* good at what they do.

          Way, way more complicated than you make it out to be.

          Not to mention the fact that they were one Carlos Correa error away from not getting out of the Division series.

    • Which MLB hitter is going to offer McCutchen protection, (assuming protection actually exists)?

Menu