By Jason Shetler
Prior to the 2012 season, the Pirates signed Andrew McCutchen to a six-year extension worth $51.5 million. That deal has become one of the best bargains in baseball right now, as McCutchen has made four All-Star appearances while capturing an MVP award since then. The Pirates then extended Starling Marte before 2014 to a six-year deal worth $31 million. This contract is also looking like an absolute steal, as Marte has established himself as one of the best all-around left fielders in the game. The agenda now will likely be trying to lock up the third member of their outfield Gregory Polanco.
Polanco entered the 2014 season as the Pirates #1 prospect in the system. A month before his call up to Pittsburgh, the Pirates reportedly offered Polanco a seven-year extension at $25 million, but the offer was rejected. During Spring Training of last year, Jon Heyman reported that the two sides were in talks of an extension, but nothing materialized. Polanco recently said that he would be open to an extension. So what kind of deal should the Pirates offer to their right fielder?
The first half of 2015 started off very rough for Polanco, almost to the point of whether or not he should have been demoted to AAA. Everything began to really click after that for him. Polanco’s second half all-around was so good that he actually finished the season being a two-win player (2.3 WAR). Marte put up a five-win season in 2013, and his extension is very inexpensive. Since Polanco has yet to prove himself over a full season, his extension should be on the level of Marte’s deal.