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Pirates reopen extension talks with Gregory Polanco

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates are again discussing an extension with Gregory Polanco. The Bucs and Polanco discussed, but did not agree to, an extension last year.

A deal for Polanco would obviously be awfully speculative at this point, but because it's speculative, and because extensions for players with so little service time are rare, it would also be cheap. If the Pirates think Polanco is a legit talent despite his struggles last year (and almost everyone seems to agree that he is), an extension will very likely save them money while delaying Polanco's free agency.

Via MLBTR's Extension Tracker, only six players have signed extensions before they had a year of service time. One of those was Hisashi Iwakuma, a veteran from Japan, so let's ignore that one. Two others (Jon Singleton and Chris Archer) signed their deals only last year. That leaves Matt Moore, Salvador Perez and the first Evan Longoria contract. Moore has struggled with injury but still has plenty of time to justify his deal. The Perez and Longoria contracts were fist-pump bargains for their teams.

Personally, I love the idea of signing Polanco. Any extension would set him up for life, and so he should be motivated to consider one, and yet he currently has little leverage because he's so far from free agency. The worst-case scenario would be that a Polanco deal would turn out to be a slightly worse version of Jose Tabata's contract, and as we're seeing, even the Tabata deal isn't that bad. Also, Polanco's baserunning and on-base ability give him a reasonably high floor even if he doesn't develop as much as we'd like. The best-case scenario is that Polanco turns out to be great and the Pirates save a ton of money during his arbitration years and control one or two extra late-prime years at what will be very reasonable prices. The upside far exceeds the downside.

Extensions aren't uncommon this time of year, since players like to get contracts out of the way before the season starts. Hopefully Polanco and the Bucs can get something done before then.