Back when the Pirates signed Jose Tabata to a long-term contract extension in August there was talk of them doing the same with Neil Walker, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that those negotiations never went anywhere.
According to Biertempfel the two sides were “deep in talks” as of late August, but “appear to have cooled.”
Walker isn’t even eligible for arbitration yet and the Pirates have him under team control through 2016 as is, so there’s really no need to commit guaranteed money to a 25-year-old who hit .273 with 12 homers and a .742 OPS in 159 games and is nowhere near free agency.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”