Major League Baseball
Hard to believe the Pirates will retain talent
Major League Baseball

Hard to believe the Pirates will retain talent

Published Jul. 18, 2009 1:51 a.m. ET

This morning, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pirates have approached infielders Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson about contract extensions.

Should we credit the small-market Pirates for stepping forward and investing the money it takes to retain top talent?

Not yet.

I will be the first to praise the organization if I receive a press release announcing new deals for both players before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Until then, I'm staying skeptical.

The Pirates have already traded several players this season, including supposed franchise cornerstone Nate McLouth. After those deals, there came criticism from fans who haven't seen a winning season since 1993, when Barry Bonds was playing left field.

The odds are not in Pittsburgh's favor, for the simple reason that it's difficult for teams and players to find common ground in the current economic climate.

Clubs point to the recession and argue that salaries should roll back in accordance with diminished revenues (Orlando Hudson, $3 million, one year). Players look at the contracts awarded to their peers in recent seasons and believe they deserve as much or more (Julio Lugo, $36 million, four years).

Just Friday, we learned that the Red Sox, one of the richest teams, had suspended contract talks with Jason Bay because the sides weren't within striking distance.


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