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Ask BD: Should the Pirates consider trading Gregory Polanco?

Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Thanks, everyone, for your questions. Here’s the second round of answers.

J182: How come the Pirates do not consider trading Gregory Polanco? To me he is too similar to Starling Marte, but yet offers controllable years and still possesses a high ceiling. I am curious of his opinion/value around the league and if the Pirates have any interest in trading him? I would rather keep Austin Meadows, put Josh Bell in right field and sign a first baseman like Chris Carter until Meadows is ready.

I guess the Pirates could trade Polanco, but in my view, he’s exactly the kind of talented, cost-efficient player they should build around. Several other thoughts on your question:

  1. I want to push back against the notion that Polanco and Marte are similar players — which I’ve heard before, probably because the Pirates developed them both and they’re both fast. Polanco is a patient left-handed batter who hits a lot of fly balls; Marte is right-handed, rarely walks, gets a ton of his offensive value from his speed, and is an elite defender in left. To me, those two profiles are awfully different.
  2. I guess if the Pirates needed a stopgap first baseman, Chris Carter is a guy who’s out there, but he’s a mediocre player. He would have been mistaken for a good one ten years ago, but the way he’s been passed around in the past couple years shows that GMs aren’t fooled by his power, which is pretty much his only skill. He’s Pedro Alvarez, but right-handed, slightly better defensively and worse at hitting for average.
  3. I’m sure Polanco would have a ton of trade value. But trading a player who likely hasn’t reached his ceiling and who’s controllable for years to come seems needlessly risky, particularly when Andrew McCutchen is only controllable for two more years. McCutchen, to me, is the much more obvious trade candidate if the Pirates are going to deal an outfielder (which they probably aren’t at this point).

Austin Bechtold (via Twitter): Who could be in for an extension? Gerrit Cole, Juan Nicasio, Jordy Mercer?

I don’t think Cole will look to sign one and I don’t think Mercer is a very good candidate. Meadows could be a possibility at some point, as could Jameson Taillon (although, as a couple commenters pointed out the last time I suggested that, the Pirates will already control Taillon through his age-30 season). Nicasio isn’t the most obvious choice, but extending him might be a neat move under the right circumstances. He’s never had a big payday, so he might be open to, say, a two-year deal that goes through 2018 and contains an option. I still think he could potentially be terrific if used as a reliever full-time.

BattlingBucs: Are there any prospects/minor leaguers you see making a surprise impact for the Pirates this season?

Edgar Santana, maybe? He’s flown through the minor leagues in the past two seasons (even though he’s already 25) and has terrific stuff. And as WTM pointed out, the Pirates recently sent Santana to MLB’s Rookie Career Development Program, perhaps indicating that they see him getting to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Joey Mooney: What is your view on the WBC? Would you rather Pirates players not play in it and in what way could they make it more popular?

I’d rather Pirates pitchers not do it — as Ray Searage has said, it can cause problems for pitchers as they prepare for the regular season. But the WBC is great fun. I saw a WBC game in San Diego about a decade ago and it was an atmosphere totally unlike any other ballgame I’d been to, even though there were only a few thousand people there.

2010 Will Be The Year: What is your favorite HBO TV Show?

True Detective.