Virgil Vasquez vs. Max Scherzer, for real this time.
-P- An interesting bit from the Post-Gazette:
The sticking point, at its core, is that $8.1 million vesting option -- $100,000 more than previously known, because of an escalator clause that was achieved this year -- that Sanchez probably will trigger by reaching 600 plate appearances this summer.
The Sanchez side sees that vesting option as virtually guaranteed. Within that mindset, if Sanchez were to accept the initial offer, he would be playing his second season, essentially, for $1.9 million. For a three-time All-Star, that would be enough of a pay cut to draw the attention of other players, agents and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Thus, an additional year would appear to provide the best bridge to a settlement. The Pirates have reservations about a third year because of long-term risk, but Sanchez surely would be amenable.
Neal Huntington would have to be huffing glue to give Freddy Sanchez a three year deal. Two years for a middle infielder in his 30s is risky enough, but three? As Huntington himself pointed out recently, only four position players of the 107 in the 2009 free agent class received three years or more. Sanchez is a terrible bet to be healthy and productive at age 34, by which point the Pirates will hopefully finally be close to contention. I wouldn't worry much about this, though--there's no way Huntington signs Sanchez for more than two years.
-P- Pedro Alvarez currently has an .893 OPS at Altoona. He's still striking out too much (30 times in 94 at bats), but that hasn't managed to slow him down. It's possible that the strikeouts will turn out to be more salient than all the homers he's hitting, but I remain more optimistic about his future now than I was a month ago.