Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates and second baseman Neil Walker have had “preliminary discussions” about a long-term contract extension.
Walker is under team control for 2015 and 2016 via arbitration, but he’s due for a raise to over $8 million and is coming off a career-year in which he hit .271 with 23 homers and an .809 OPS in 137 games at age 28.
Here’s what general manager Neal Huntington said about the potential extension talks:
We would like nothing more than to have Neil Walker end his career as a Pirate. There’s no question about that. We understand he’s a really good player, and we understand the local implications and local ties he has.
However, for now Brink says an agreement is not considered imminent.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.
Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.
This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.
With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.