The Pirates attempted to discuss a long-term contract with outfielder Gregory Polanco prior to his major league debut last year and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the two sides have reopened extension talks.
Polanco was previously offered a seven-year contract with three club options, a deal which would have maxed out north of $50 million. It’s hard to pass up on guaranteed money, but you can understand why he turned it down, as the deal would have been extremely club-friendly and he stands to make much more in the long-term if he fulfills his promise. New numbers are being discussed this time around, but it’s unclear if there will be a resolution by Opening Day.
Polanco remains under team control through 2020, so there’s not a huge sense of urgency to get this done right away. But the Pirates have been aggressive in locking up their talented outfielders. Andrew McCutchen is signed through 2017 with a club option for 2018 while Starling Marte is signed through 2019 with club options for 2020 and 2021.
Polanco, 23, batted .235/.307/.343 with seven home runs, 33 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 89 games as a rookie last season.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”
The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.
Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.