Pirates OF Gregory Polanco 'open' to an extension
The Pittsburgh Pirates and right fielder Gregory Polanco still have plenty of time left before they need to come to terms on an agreement for an extension, but since it appears to be a priority for Pittsburgh's front office, Polanco was asked recently about his thoughts on a potential extension with the Bucs.
"I'm open to it," Polanco said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Whatever [offer] they bring, I'll check it out. I never say never."
Polanco has only played two years for the Pirates' major-league club – in which he's hit .249/.316/.369 with 16 home runs, 85 RBI, and 41 stolen bases in 242 games – but Pittsburgh reportedly has already tried to sign him to a long-term deal on multiple occasions.
The 24-year-old Dominican outfielder won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season, but will be eligible for arbitration after the 2017 season.
If the Pirates see major upside in Polanco, now might be a good time to lock him down for the long haul at a relatively cheap price before his value potentially soars with a monster season.
Polanco said there are no ongoing contract talks, per the Tribune-Review, and he's currently focused on rehabbing a balky left knee.
"Right now, I'm focused on getting my mind and my body right, getting ready so I can be more consistent and smarter in the game and establish myself in the major leagues," Polanco said. "I'm not even thinking about a contract. Whenever they come to me, I'll be here. Now, my mind is on [playing] baseball."
The report indicates that Polanco nearly signed a seven-year deal with the Pirates last year, but his camp and the front office couldn't agree on a team option. Polanco also reportedly rejected a seven-year, $25-million deal last year during spring training.
While Polanco showed improvement last season, he still has room to grow before he develops into the kind of star player the Pirates project him to be.
In 2015, he flashed potential as an impact player by driving in 52 runs and stealing 27 bases.
"I know what I have to do to prepare for spring training and for a full season," Polanco said. "This year is big for me. I want to be more consistent.
"I want to play like I played in the minor leagues, like a star player. I want to play that way for a long career."