Concerning Freddie, I think most people forget that September is coming and with September, JR will play either Delwyn Young or someone else at 2nd base to give them a look.
Freddie Sanchez will not get to 600 plate appearances to vest the $8mm+ option.
The question then becomes "how much is Freddie going to get as a free agent?" Considering that Orlando Hudson got ~ $4 mm as a free agent for the LAD this year, what will Freddie get as a FA next year? Will he get a 2 year $10mm offer?
In this economy, I don't think so...
Now, Neal Huntington knows he is in control of the situation (FS plate appearances). As a trade tool, this is a disadvantage, because whoever might be trading for FS will need him to play or they wouldn't be trading for him in the first place. Playing will vest his option for next year. It obviously lessens his trade value. That fact makes it necessary for us to send cash along with Fred if he is traded. He will not be traded unless Neal gets something he can't refuse.
On the other hand, FS and agent know that Neal can sit Fred for as long as necessary in September to make sure the option does not vest. This is a BIG disadvantage for Freddie. As far as he is concerned, getting traded is the best thing that can happen to him, signing an extension the next best thing, and riding out the season and NOT vesting his option the worst. He'd then probably have to test the FA market (unless the Bucs offer arbitration, which I don't think they'd do).
What do I expect to happen? I believe that FS will sign an extension with the Pirates after the trading deadline. Somthing along the line of 2 years and $11 mm.
One argument that will come (and maybe a union grievance) is that FS was riding the pine so his option would not vest. Most out of contention teams do this and the Pirates have done it extensively over the years, so at best FS has a 50-50 chance of winning the case. Certainly neither side will want to get into this process, I'd imagine.
So many think the 2 yr - $10 mm offer was lowballing, but I feel it is very fair considering the situation.