The Pirates have announced they have reached a extension with Gregory Polanco for the next 5 years. The deal includes two option years and is worth 60M if both options are picked up. The deal guarantees 35M.
Polanco is entering his third Major League season, though he has not yet reached two full years of service time. He’s a career .249/.316/.369 hitter in 964 plate appearances. Scouts expect him to grow into his fledgling power. A center fielder in the minors, Polanco has mostly played right field due to the presence of Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. Polanco drew rave reviews for his right field defense last season, rating at 6.8 runs above average per Ultimate Zone Rating and 11 runs above average per Defensive Runs Saved.
Considered a consensus Top 25 prospect league-wide prior to the 2014 season in which he was promoted, Polanco has certainly shown flashes of promise but hasn’t yet emerged as the star many believed him to be capable of becoming. In particular, he’s displayed some potentially concerning struggles against left-handed pitching. Same-handed opponents have held Polanco to a paltry .183/.239/.264 batting line in 228 big league plate appearances. Clearly, he’s young enough to make some strides in that department, but the tight-budgeted Pirates will hope that Polanco doesn’t continually require a platoon partner and can instead combine with McCutchen and Marte to form one of the league’s best outfield trios.