Jeff Passan from Yahoo Sports is reporting that Gregory Polanco and the Pirates have agreed to a five-year extension, with two club options. Passan says that the deal will guarantee Polanco at least “mid-$30M” and it should be announced this week. It will start in 2017, so if he sticks around for all seven years, he will be in Pittsburgh through the 2023 season. Ken Rosenthal has the details of the deal.

UPDATE 9:07 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

This is easily the biggest win of the day for the Pirates. Polanco looks like he’s on his way to a breakout season, and that’s not a reaction to his performance today, when he smoked a double at 109 MPH and a single at 112 MPH. Back in December, I detailed Polanco’s second half in 2015, noting his increase in hard hit balls, and how that trend could lead to a breakout this season. If that happens this year, then the Pirates would have been getting Polanco extended at just the right time.

Obviously with any extension, there’s the risk that the player doesn’t work out, which is something we saw with Jose Tabata. But there’s also the Andrew McCutchen/Starling Marte potential, where a huge value could be had. I think Polanco’s deal will end up being the latter, and it could look like a steal sooner than later.

The biggest thing here is the length Polanco is under control. The Pirates have him locked up through the 2023 season. For perspective, they could bring up Josh Bell this year, and if he never signs an extension, he could be eligible for free agency before Polanco. This now puts two-thirds of the current Pirates outfield under team control for the next six seasons.

I was planning on updating that December article on Polanco tomorrow night, but I guess that is getting moved up to tonight. I’ll have more thoughts and analysis in First Pitch.

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59 COMMENTS

  1. Great news. Always loved the potential and now I hope he can reach his ceiling which could be very high.

  2. Don’t call the contract a “steal.” Polanco might want to renegotiate after reading this. (Snark)

  3. Christmas in April!!!!! Now just think of the bargaining chips they have at their disposal in order to fill a need.

  4. I love this but i am seeing cutch extension talk again. I would love to see your thoughts Tim or John on comparing cutch to a carl crawford similar tools, i know cutch was better, but as far as a how age may effect him. I think they are similar players and age will effect them similar and i would like to hear your thoughts.

  5. These type deals are good for the team the vast majority of the time, still questions if Polanco develops the power needed to be a star, but you’d have to be pretty morbid to not be excited.

  6. Polanco at minimum will be a perennial all-star contender. This deal solidifies this franchises future. Amazing deal.

  7. The sky is the limit for Polanco. He doesn’t have the bat speed of Cutch, but he has the potential for more power.

  8. The deal, as reported so far, looks amazing for the Pirates. If he never hits, his legs and glove will make up the value of the deal. If he hits, well…

    • Oh, he’ll hit. I’m just hoping he learns to be an intelligent base runner someday soon.

          • I don’t understand why he doesn’t slide head-first more. Given that he is two-thirds legs, it seems like it would be a lot easier for him to dive head-first and let his legs follow, than to get his legs out in front where they can get caught up under him.

            • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The head first slide is an injury–hands, wrist, neck, head, face– waiting to happen. Not if, but when. Marte and J-Hay are great examples of that. When did you ever see Lou Brock, Davey Lopes, Maury Wills, Jackie Robinson, just to name a few of the greatest base runners and stealers of all time, sliding head first? Sliding head first also leads to a greater chance of being out than safe, and a lesser chance of being able to advance to the next base on an overthrow. Head first slides have no redeeming value whatsoever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Haha, ok I guess maybe it’s a bad idea. And I get all your points on injury, lower safe probability, etc, and I mostly agree. I was just pointing out that mechanically, with his leg length, it would be physically easier for him to slide head first. But, it should also be pointed out that Polanco may be the worst ML feet-first slider I have ever seen and it’s an injury waiting to happen anyway, so they may want to start thinking about other options. And Rickey Henderson was pretty successful with it!

      • For all the “what a moron” stuff, he’s a top 10 baserunner via the stats.

        He makes far too many mistakes sliding, but he’s taking so many extra bases and stealing enough that even with his TOOTBLAN issue he’s an upper tier baserunner. He’s not a dumb runner overall.

          • I dont think thats true at all. He’s gaffe prone, but he also is really good at going 1st to 3rd and not purely by speed.

            His biggest issue is the slides. Clean that up and he’s an elite runner. Not top 3, but top 5.

  9. Great news!!! Now Austin Medows and Harold Ramierez can get us a Number 1 and 2 Pitcher with tons of service time!!

  10. Love the early reports on details of that. Control him for his prime and at cheap rates for his talent.

    • Unless he gives a monumental home town discount, that won’t be happening. Meadows will slide into that spot.

      • I think the Pirates will make a stronger offer than we think and its possible Cutch could take less…the distance between the two of them may be workable.

          • Its too far away still to really tell. Depends how well he’s playing this year, next year. It depends how much the Pirates would be willing to offer. I just think he would take a bit less if the Pirates were close.

      • The only way the Pirates can re-sign Cutch is if the DH is implemented. He’s not going to play CF his whole career, he isn’t even the best CF on the team. Now, if the CBA adds the DH to the NL, the Pirates would be smart to offer him a lucrative deal. His power may not hold up, but his presence would please the fans and show faith that Nutting is willing to spend money.

        • Please the fans is hogwash. If the Bucco’s signed Cutch & were losing the fans would be screaming it was a stupid signing. Winning is what is driving the boom in popularity. Cutch is just a part of it. If he leaves & Bucco’s won the W.S. the fans wouldn’t care if he left. Don’t believe me just ask St. Louis about Puljus leaving. They won the W.S. as soon as he left. The Bucco’s will be just fine without Cutch when the time comes as long as the pipeline stays strong. Overpaying a superstar for past his prime years is just bad business. Don’t believe me ask the Yanks about bad contracts or Boston or Angels or ….

          • I agree completely, jamminjoe66. I reside in suburban Philadelphia. You can add the Sillies to that group of teams that payed big time for aging veterans–Howard, Uttley, Rollins, Ruiz–and got burned big time too. While we all would love to return to the days of Stargell and Clemente being with the Bucs from beginning to end, the reality is that giving a 30 or 31 year old athlete an eight or ten year deal at $15 to $20 million per year just is not going to be economically sound for the team in most instances, especially after the first couple/three years. Cutch will probably get his big payday, it just is not likely to happen in Pittsburgh. And the same will probably hold true for Marte and Polanco. That is why it is imperative that the Pirates attain and maintain a strong and flourishing farm system, signing as many top level players as possible to early, long-term deals, so that they can get the best years out of them. That’s just the most efficient way to operate now, especially for small market teams.

  11. The way the ball came off his bat today, he will be worth it just for the balls in the river

  12. And all of bucco nation rejoices!! He looked like a different hitter at the plate today with a much more mature approach

    • He started looking like today about last July. He just had incredible bad luck hitting everything right at people. Awesome signing!!!!
      I know Boris won’t let it happen, but Cole would be next if possible at all.

      • Don’t hold your breath on Cole, he will test free agency.. Boras won’t leave money on the table, so there is no reward to sign him to an extensions, it’s all risk.

        • For a pitcher, there is risk not signing an extension. Especially a guy who throws as hard as Cole. TJ or shoulder issues are always possible. Signing an extension to lock up two years of Free agency should not be something Boras would immediately reject for a pitcher.

          • You don’t hire Boras as your agent and then go safe, you do it to get as much as possible. I feel safe in saying Cole won’t sign an extension in Pittsburgh, still knowing it’s a 1% chance he does, bucking the trend we have seen for years. That being said, a 1% chance makes it not even worth discussing because it’s just wishful thinking. The good thing is that he still has four seasons left, so why worry now about him leaving.

            • John, where do the Pirates stand on their present TV contract. When will the Pirates start negotiating for a $$$$ TV contract which will make signing future extensions more possible?
              It seems winning 98 games last year and 2016, 2017 making the Bucs more view-able to a national audience should bring about a sizable TV contract.

            • In my thoughts, Cole would be the one I trade in a couple of years. Unless the Pirates move to the left coast, Cole will not sign. Look what happened to Jason Schmidt.

        • Don’t mistake what I meant, I know Boras won’t let him. I was meaning Cole is only one left that I would consider a multi-year extension with. Might try to tack another year on to Papa Francisco also.

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