Pirates Announce Contract Extension For David Freese

The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that they signed David Freese to a two-year extension, with a club option for 2019. No other details of the deal have been announced yet.

Freese signed with the Pirates in early March as a free agent for $3 M over one season. In 107 games this year, he is hitting .276/.355/.437, with 20 doubles and 12 home runs and a 2.0 WAR. He has made 58 starts at third base, 26 at first base and even played a couple games off the bench at second base.

UPDATE 2:53 PM: Jon Heyman has the contract details:

At first glance, this seems very team friendly, considering what Freese has done this year. He’s guaranteed $11 M over two years. Meanwhile, the market rate for free agents is about $7 M per WAR, and Freese has been a 2.0 WAR player this year. The Pirates are basically paying for 0.8 WAR per year with this deal. And if Freese has his option picked up, it would be at the same 0.8 WAR price. Freese might provide more value on his entire deal in 2017 alone, especially if he plays like he has been this year. – Tim Williams

UPDATE 3:00 PM: Here were the comments from Neal Huntington in the press release:

“David has been a consummate professional while producing offensively and playing solid defense at both third and first base to help this team win games,” said Huntington. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to extend that impact into future seasons.”

Alan Saunders will have more coverage on this deal later today from PNC Park.

UPDATE 3:04 PM: Heyman says Freese can make $1 M per year extra in performance bonuses.

I think his math is off on the $22.5 M, since the rest of his deal would amount to $16.5 M max, without the bonuses. So the maximum would be $19.5 M over three years, unless there are other bonuses involved which haven’t been announced.




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People keep bringing up Osuna. He just made triple A this year. Can u say 2018

dr dng

No signing bonus?

Not even a dinner at Capital Grill?

Steve Zielinski

A waste of money. The Pirates traded prospects to shed Liriano’s salary. Now they spend too much for a bench player who will displace inexpensive players like Frazier, etc.

Scott K

First fruits of the Liriano trade.


Great signing! I hope they resign Joyce as well. Start making great moves right now and continue that trend in the offseason. It’s time to build a much better team for 2017.

Brian K. Rhodes

I would hope this signing doesn’t take RH AB’s from Bell. I was hoping Bell would be an every day player. He will need RH AB’s if he is to develop to his fullest potential. But the Pirates seem to like the idea of 6 or 7 starting quality players for 4 infield positions.


When the Pirates traded Loriano I told my son that they know more about Kang and needed the money to sign Freese. Now all they need is a leader PLEASE.


Great use of the “financial flexibility” gained by cutting Liriano loose. Freese’s signing backs up Kang in case he can’t come back and helps ease Bell into 1B by providing a RH bat to start if Bell struggles from the RH side.


Great signing. Freese was MVP when the Cardinals won the World Series. He will continue getting standing ovations when Pirates play in St Louis. He shines on and off the field with leadership. Cutch loves him. He will soon remarry and move from St Louis to Texas but remain a Pirate to the end.

Dale O

I don’t see where some of you people are getting this fear of something coming soon with Kang. You can have more than one solid third baseman on a team and when you can sign one to a (relatively) cheap extension, you do it.

If something happens with Kang tomorrow, so what? If something happens over the winter, so what? The team now has a legit option in tow.


Bruce Humbert

With Freese and Frazier and Hanson in waiting it is time to,see what J-Hay would fetch in the market


I like this move a lot. What does this say about Matt Joyce? Also, Is this what Liriano’s “financial flexibility” has allowed us to do? I think Matt Joyce is gone allowing Meadows to eventually come up after super 2 and assume that role of the left handed hitting outfielder off the bench next year. This will be just for the start of Meadows career of course but they need to sneak him in the line-up somehow next year and I think Joyce is currently blocking that spot.


they will hope Cutch rebounds, then trade him in June to clear the way for Meadows.


Meadows has another six months to a year to play in AAA ,at least, before he comes up. He wouldn’t be blocked by Joyce anyway.


Tim I don’t get the comment on the twitter scroll that he is making more in 2017 because the Pirates will have more to spend in 2017. Last time I checked there was no salary cap in baseball meaning the Pirates are free to spend as much money as they choose in any baseball year.

The only reason they will restrict what they spend is because they set an internal budget. You don’t get a ring for having the “highest million per WAR”. Frankly I could care less about their efficiency within their budget. The only thing I care about is winning.

Tim Williams

Every team has a budget. To act like the Pirates can spend what they want ignores reality.

And the fact is, this team will largely be together through the 2018 season, and the team will be cheaper in 2017. So it makes sense to pay Freese more in 2017 than 2018.


Isn’t 2018 the year we can get a new TV deal?

Tim Williams

I think 2019.

David Rosenberg

sounds like they may be very concerned about the Kang investigation.


They certainly have reason to be concerned with his play over the last two months. The Chicago police aren’t supposed to let anyone know anything before an arrest so I doubt the Pirates know anything.


What is the payroll expected to be assuming the arb guys like Mercer, Cole, Watson are signed? I seem to recall before the Freese signing it was about 80 million for next year.

Tim Williams

That’s about where I had it at. So about $86-87 M right now before any other additions.


40-man somewhere in the $86-90M range assuming one of Nicasio, Hughes, Locke are non-tendered (drop another $4M if you non-tender a second one). And S Rod, Joyce, Vogey, and Feliz will be free agents.

Bill W

Nice move Buccos! Now use him.


Damn cheap Nuttings………;-)


This is an excellent signing. Good player, very low risk signing, both in term and dollars.


Earlier this year I did not like this signing. I know the Angels couldn’t wait to rid themselves of him and his contract. I am happy to say I was wrong and this is a great singing! At least NH kept his promise and spent some money saved from the Liriano trade.


very concerned that this means the bucs know something about Kang and the sex assault issue…..


Do we sign SRod, too?

What about Joyce?



Meadows Cutch platoon. Couple sprinkles of Frazier.


I think SRod is gone. He will test open market and get a raise. I hope they try and sign Neftali.




Taillon will be 31ish when his 6 years are up. At most, we only buy out 1 year?


Good point, wasn’t thinking of that….


$6.25M in ’17, $4.25M in ’18, $6M team option or 500K buyout in ’19

Talk about team friendly…..He certainly could’ve got more on the open market.


I thought the same thing, Catch22, but he and his agent obviously felt otherwise, and I am elated that they did. I think that the way the Pirates have used him that it is a very strong possibility that he will be productive for at least two more years in a reserve role.

I hope that this does not signal that official charges are going to be brought up on Kang, and this is the Pirates way of preparing for that. We will see of course, but that crossed my mind.


Or if they think Kang’s injury return is similar to Aki who had a knee injury almost identical to Jung Ho’s?


Kang’s offense has taken a beating this year but it’s really not that bad. Similar to Cutch…and until the last week or so his defense was really solid. I definitely think they are preparing for the worst with Kang. They aren’t extending Freese to play 1B fulltime you wouldn’t think…unless they are considering dealing Bell for a major pitching acquisition this offseason. Freese at 1B/3B, you still have Sean Ruthriguez if you resign him for some 1B, and Harrsion can sub in at 3B and either Frazier, Hanson or Moroff plays 2B a lot. Just some scenarios.

Mallorie D

He’s actually been “decent” this year, given the layoff. Over .800 OPS isnt bad. I think the injury why’s he on DL is related to shoulder right? I think its partially insurance in case Kang gets charged and partially a backup in case Bell cant handle 1B


“Over .800 OPS isn’t bad”? Over .800 OPS is WAYYYYYY better than “isn’t bad” hahahaha


Good point.

Darren G

Good move for next year. The bench looks like it will be strong again with Freese, Frazier, Hanson and hopefully Diaz as back up catcher. Figure Jaso or Rodgers could get the last spot on the bench or perhaps a more true OF can be brought in as a free agent for the final spot.


I believe you will see Diaz remain in AAA next year as NH loves his depth. It will be Stewart or Fryer, especially after the slew of injuries at the position this season.

Zachary F

Does this mean Kang is getting charged?


Don’t think that is the reason. Even with Kang back and fully healthy, they still needed a right-hand hitting 1B. And hopefully Kang will be ready to serve as the backup SS next year, in which case Freese could play as many as 40+ games at 3B. He also gives them insurance if Bell isn’t ready for prime time in April.


One of my first thoughts, Zachary F. I fervently hope not!!


I thought that as well……I hope I am sooo wrong


Very reasonable cost too. Solid move.


Considering Kang and Freese both have a string of injury history, we don’t have much of a viable prospect at 3B, and a weak FA market, I think this is a good move.

It will be interesting to see how NH deals with Sean Rod and Joyce. Since Frazier and many prospects are able to play multiple positions, I don’t think NH will spend more and keep either of them.

Also Jaso incorporates (unsuccessfully) a leg kick into his swing, which may add his power but definitely changes his patient approach and thus OBP. Is it better to keep him as bench bat or trade him…?

joe s

I would resign Rod if the price is right.


The first thing i thought of was that Srod is playing his (pricing himself) way out of Pittsburgh. Everyone knows that Bell is better from the left than right, so Freese is good compliment.

Bobby L

Good news about Freese. I’d like to see Joyce get an extension. Pirates haven’t had a threat off the bench in a long time. He’s donr well for the PBC.

Bruce Humbert

Who in their right mind would want Jaso – horrible signing and horrible contract


Really? Horrible signing? It definitely hasn’t been more than a 4 on a scale of 1-10 but Jaso is a strong finish from having similar numbers to his career…and he needs to be about a 0.6 WAR/yr player to make the deal even. I understand, he doesn’t light up anyone’s day but Jaso has been close to what he’s always been: an ok platoon guy. Pedro is of course blowing Jaso away offensively but it isn’t a coincidence Pedro is a better hitter whenhe is not in the field. That dude is not a multitasker. Plus Alvarez is about an 8-60 with 27 K away from being the same old guy. I think he can do it!!!


Decent idea that didn’t work out. Not sure if one can say “horrible contract” when you’re basically only paying for 0.5 WAR/year. That Jaso should’ve cleared that bar easily but hasn’t makes it a bad contract, but not a horrible signing.


I wouldn’t go as far as horrible. I know a slightly above replacement player should get about $1 million (not $4) but at the time, Joyce and S-Rod looked like worse signings. Who’s to say he won’t turn it around next year like they did this year – which would make the contract a bargain.

Bruce Humbert

Well he is actually slightly BELOW replacement value -0.2 fWAR for the year and an OPS just under .600…

I guess we have different definitions of horrible.

If they DFA him he will have no problem clearing waivers…


You mean an OPS above .700, not below .600. Making up statistics doesn’t help your case. BTW, Jaso’s combined OPS for the previous four years was above .800, even though he played catcher for most of that time. Can’t expect NH to be a mind-reader. Jaso hasn’t done well, but the signings of Rodriguez, Joyce, and Freese were brilliant – in retrospect.


He could back up 1B from Indy then.


Steamer and ZIPS both forcecast him trending toward 0.0 by end of year with plus WRC+.

Also, his OPS is still above .700. Not sure what orifice you pulled your number from. Not that a hair over .700 is good for a 1b (or any starter), but he’s not nearly as impotent as you suggest.

eric i

He has an ops of .707.


WOOOHOOO!!!! I called this.


I’ll buy you a Spot Dog as your prize. 🙂


The Pirates also want to make sure they have a 3B incase Kang is playing for illinois state penil system next year.

I hear the penil system teams have some good players, I mean Ricky Vaughn has a great fastball. Plus Paul Crewe is a heck of a QB


good stuff, but its penal.


Not usually a grammar Nazi, but it’s penal, your spelling makes me giggle. 🙂

joe s

I thought it was meant as a joke.


Maybe he meant “penile system”


penile humor? 🙂


Hooray! Good insurance for whatever comes of the Jung Ho situation.

Jonah Simon

All of Pittsburgh should be celebrating. Freese is a true professional who will help the future greatly. Curious of the exact numbers on the extension


Well I’ll be the first negative person, shades of the Harrison deal all over again. Unless Kang is gonna be unavailable for a while this is not a good signing. We need room for Bell, Frazier, Hanson. Moroff, and even Osuna. I hope it works out but there’s goes another chunk of the budget on player that I feel was a great one year pick up.


What the hell is wron with the Harrison deal??


Bucs needed a good right-handed hitting 1B. There is still room for two of Frazier, Hanson, and Moroff – assuming SRod is not re-signed, which I doubt will happen, and assuming Kang can play SS occasionally next year. Price doesn’t seem cheap for Freese, but it does seem reasonable.


I agree with ‘rican although I do like what Freese has done so far this year. But, he will be 34 to start next year and this team needs a drastic change in personality and much more youth and speed.

I also see this as a statement that JHay, Srod, Rogers, and Jaso are all on the trading block as of the time of the extension. JHay, Jaso, and Rogers salaries for 2017 amount to around $12 mil.


Hanson or Moroff or Osuna over Freese?


Hanson IMO, could easily with his speed and defense give this team similar value at a minimum salaries and to be clear, with the tight budget the team operates under, having a versatile, cheap bench of the players mentioned above makes more sense at least to me.

Scott K

Hanson could replace SRod and Osuna can replace Joyce. Having a veteran presence who can play every day if necessary, or be productive as a bench player, is worth way more than the dollars allocated to him in the next two years.

IC Bob

Hanson cannot play 1B so no he is not a replacement for Freeze. I tend to be critical of the Pirates but there is nothing in this move to be critical about. With the uncertainty of Kang and potential for Bell not to live up to his potential I like the idea of having a veteran that gives you a professional game every time out. Oh, he also is one of the few guys who actually hits better with men in scoring position then with bases empty (a rarity in our lineup).


Hanson cannot play 1b, ok, Bell and Osuna can play there, Freeze is a 3b, Hanson plays there. Listen I like the guy, he has produced this year, do I think that he will be dead weight sooner than later, yes, very much so.

IC Bob

If you do not like the guy then I would understand your issues. My other issue with your comment might also be a direct jab at the Bucs. 6 milllion is not a lot for a ball player yet we as Pirate fans see this as some sort of big contract when in reality this is a contract for a decent back up and that to me is exactly what Freeze will be.


I wrote I like the guy, so I guess you missed that, and taking a jab at the club is nonsense, I’m not one of the many that crucifixes the club on a game by game basis. Most fan know that this team is frugal, I’m ok with it as long as they put a winning product on the field. Now, you last sentence is where my concern lies, he is a back up, yes, glad we agreed on that, I rather have our talented up and coming players the I mentioned above to fill the back up role for $500k v $6mm and take that money fill a spot that is more crucial than back up, or as I mentioned earlier, bench piece.

Jonah Simon

Thing is, Harrison was more expensive and Freese has proved himself over his career. We were basing the Harrison extension off of one good year. I hear where you are coming from but it is risky to rely on all youth. There is a need for a veteran presence.

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