AP source: Pirates, outfielder Polanco agree to extension
PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a deal with promising outfielder Gregory Polanco that runs well into the next decade.
A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press the 24-year-old right fielder has agreed to a $35 million, five-year contract that runs from 2017-21. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not been announced.
Polanco is signed for this year at $535,000. The new deal, which could be announced Tuesday, adds $35 million in guaranteed money and includes club options for 2022 and 2023 that could raise the value to $58 million. In addition, there are escalators that could increase the deal to $60 million.
The contract was first reported by Yahoo.
Polanco went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored in Sunday's season-opening win over St. Louis. The Dominican Republic native hit .256 with nine home runs and 52 RBI in his first full season in the majors last year.
The Pirates have made it a point in recent years to lock up the young core of players that have made three straight playoff appearances and have the second-best record in the majors since the start of 2013. Superstar center fielder Andrew McCutchen signed a deal before the 2012 season that runs through 2018 and now looks like one of the best bargains in baseball.
Left fielder Starling Marte, coming off his first Gold Glove, is under team control through at least 2020, and second baseman Josh Harrison inked a four-year extension last spring that includes team options in 2020 and 2021.
Pittsburgh has steadily increased its payroll in lockstep with the franchise's climb back to respectability. The club's opening day roster topped $100 million for the first time in 2016 and ranked 19th out of the 30 major league teams.
Polanco is scheduled to make $535,000 this season. The new agreement allows Pittsburgh to buy out his first three years of arbitration, a tactic the Pirates used with great success when negotiating with McCutchen.
The Pirates signed the left-handed Polanco as a raw teenager in 2009 and he steadily made his way through the farm system while developing into one of the best outfield prospects in the majors. He made his big league debut on June 10, 2014, but struggled with consistency that summer, even making a brief return to Triple-A Indianapolis before returning to Pittsburgh for good in September.
The 6-foot-5 Polanco found his footing in the second half of 2015, hitting .276 after the All-Star break as the Pirates won 98 games to clinch a wild-card berth for the third straight year. His 13 defensive assists in 2015 were the third most in the majors by a right fielder.