Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco remains in minors after rejecting seven-year contract

41 Comments

The Pirates began play Tuesday night with a 9 1/2 game deficit in the National League Central standings and a .687 team OPS that ranks 20th in the major leagues. They could use a big bat and have a perfect internal fit in top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco. But he’s not a consideration yet because the Bucs don’t want to risk him gaining an extra year of salary arbitration via Super Two status.

And the 6-foot-4 youngster from the Dominican Republic is not willing to put a cap on his potential future earnings by agreeing to a team-friendly, pre-debut contract. Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports has the full story

The Pirates recently offered the 22-year-old Polanco a seven-year deal with three club options that would guarantee him a little bit less than $25 million, a source with knowledge of the team’s plans told Yahoo Sports. Polanco rejected the deal and remains at Triple-A Indianapolis, a casualty of Major League Baseball’s service-time rules that continue to give teams an incentive to bury some of the best prospects in the minor leagues until June.

Pittsburgh’s tack with Polanco mirrors a trend of offering the best up-and-coming players long-term major league contracts before their debuts. While no player has signed such a deal, the Houston Astros proposed a multiyear deal for outfielder George Springer during spring training. When he turned it down, the Astros kept him in the minor leagues for the first 2½ weeks of the season, delaying his free agency by a year.

Polanco, 22, is batting .397/.449/.621 with four homers and 26 RBI in 29 games this year at Triple-A Indianapolis. Some type of change needs to be made to this system in the next collective bargaining agreement. Passan suggests tying Super Two status to performance rather than strictly service time.

The Cardinals seem to be pulling a Polanco with their own top outfield prospect, Oscar Taveras.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to big league spring training camp

Eastern AA All Star Baseball
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
10 Comments

The Mets announced that a handful of minor leaguers have been invited to big league spring training camp. Among them is former football star and current outfielder Tim Tebow.

Tebow, 31, spent last season with Double-A Binghamton. His season ended in July due to a broken hamate bone. Overall, he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs and 36 RBI in 298 plate appearances. While the numbers aren’t anything earth-shattering, they are certainly better than what many skeptics thought he could put up in the minors, especially at Double-A.

Tebow will likely begin the season with Triple-A Syracuse. If he performs well, he could get a call up to the big leagues in the event of an injury, or in September when rosters expand.