Huntington: Super 2 'not a defining factor' in timing of Gregory Polanco promotion

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Take it however you like, but Neal Huntington says that the Super Two issue is "not a defining factor" in the timing of Gregory Polanco's promotion:

"He’s continuing to refine some of the intricacies of his game," Huntington said. "Somebody asked the other day for a detailed list of what he’s working on. When Andrew [McCutchen] was coming up, I gave a detailed list as to what he was working on, then watched major league teams attack those weaknesses I’d identified in spring training. So, I’m not going to give you a detailed script that opposing teams can attack when Gregory gets here."

There's surely no doubt that the Pirates are trying to help Polanco continue to improve, but the Super Two issue remains the best reason not to promote him, whether or not Huntington admits it (and he shouldn't). If Polanco is going to be a star, then promoting him now as opposed to the second week of June might mean paying $10 million or more in the long run for 35 games or so in 2014.

Tim Lincecum was a Super Two player, and his case provides an extreme example of how much Super Two eligibility can cost. Lincecum became arbitration-eligible right after winning a Cy Young award and made $9 million in his fourth season in the league, then $14 million, $18 million and $22 million in his next three seasons. Clayton Kershaw, who was not a Super Two player, made $500,000 in his fourth season in the league, won a Cy Young in that season, and then made $7.5 million and $11 million in his first two years of arbitration eligibility before agreeing to a long-term deal. It's hard to find exact comparables when you're dealing with players at the extremes like this, but you can see how much money the Dodgers saved, in part because Kershaw did not have Super Two eligibility.

Bringing Polanco up now certainly could cost the Pirates less than $10 million or so. But if Polanco isn't going to be a star, the sort of player who could make a big impact in six weeks (and, therefore, the sort of player likely to get huge arbitration payouts later), then calling him up now wouldn't make much of a difference anyway.

These are the only contexts in which promoting Polanco now would make sense:

1) Polanco projects to be a great player this year, but not in two years, when he would be heading into arbitration for the first time.

2) The Pirates sign Polanco to a seven-year deal today, just as the Astros tried to do with George Springer. That way, they wouldn't have to worry about arbitration anymore and could promote him whenever they chose.

3) There's a violent revolution that results in the collapse of U.S. currency, forcing the government to print trillions upon trillions in valueless cash and resulting in citizens waiting in bread lines with wheelbarrows full of hundred-dollar bills.

I like Option Two, but if that's not possible, then the Pirates would simply be risking spending a large amount of money just to get six weeks of baseball -- six weeks that, frankly, might not even turn out to matter, given how far behind the Pirates already are and how mediocre they've looked so far.
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bucs Dugout

You must be a member of Bucs Dugout to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Dugout. You should read them.

Join Bucs Dugout

You must be a member of Bucs Dugout to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Dugout. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker