Feb 27, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (62) smiles after he hit a solo home run during the first inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Note to Gregory Polanco: You Should Have Signed!

Gregory Polanco.  Your kool-aid must taste absolutely delicious nowadays huh..

And why not?  I mean, you started off the season red-hot in AAA Indy slashing .373/.437/.593 through the first 45 games.  You’re the future in right field for a team that is struggling right now.  You got baseball simpletons like Mark Madden screaming from the roof tops that you are God’s gift to baseball.  You hold all the cards right?

Sure you do..

I mean… your stock is just hotter than Apple after they announced the iphone buddy.  Jose Tabata and Travis Snyder have looked….well let’s say…less than Polanco-like in right field.  The Pirates are off to a slow start.  The fans are foaming at the mouth to get a taste of greggy at PNC park and you are just sitting back taking it all in. (big drink of kool-aid….ahhhh)

Here’s the only problem.  You made a big mistake when you didn’t sign the contract the Pirates offered you.  (spits out kool-aid! WHAAA?)

Here’s why.

Sure you’re hot right now.  And as a result of being hot, you got yourself a contract.  Rule of thumb.  When you’re a rookie who hasn’t so much as taken a swing in the big leagues and one of the cheapest teams in baseball gives you guaranteed money?

Ya…uhh.  You take it.

Ask Starling Marte if he’s happy he signed his extension when he did.  He came off a great year and they rewarded him with guaranteed cash.  His stock has dropped so far this year, but guess what didn’t…. his salary and his job security.

Ask Jedd Gyorko from the Padres if he’s happy he signed a 6 year deal with his team after his first good season.  He’s hitting .165 right now but laughing all the way to the bank.  They’re basically forced to play him every day and watch helplessly as he flails away at the plate and puts up donut after donut.  You think if he hadn’t signed that 6 year deal that they’d be marching him out there every day to witness him NOT get any hits?  You think that’s air your breathing now?   (Morpheus)

Ask Pedro Alvarez if he’s thinking “hmmm….maybe I shouldn’t have listened to my pig agent Scott Boras and negotiated this offseason” as he sits at .212/.306/.365 and has less home runs than Neil Walker.   He’s literally losing money every time he strikes out with men in scoring position and his stock is falling faster than Enron.

Bottom line is sure, you’re hot now.  But remember last year when you hit .263 in AA Altoona?  That can happen again you know…and chances are it will at some point.

Do you think you’re going to remain hot for the next 6 years while the Pirates have clamps on you tighter than a vice grip?  I have news for you G.P.  You won’t.

Let me give you a bit of knowledge young buck.  When your boss gives you a raise before you even show up at work and you throw it back in his face while you are still locked in a guaranteed contract with the company….ya… that’s not good.

But your Greg Polanco… I forgot.  An other-wordly talent that shouldn’t sign away your potential for a measly $25m guaranteed.  What bush league player would ever sign such a bogus deal obviously designed to cheat them out of cash and thwart their growth potential!

I mean… what no talent hack in their right mind would do such a thing!  Sign a deal with their team before they’re arbitration eligible…And squander all that potential??  What fool would partake in such a signing?

How about:  Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria, Matt Moore, Jedd Gyorko, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Jose Altuve, Starling Marte, Chris Archer, Jose Quintana, Sean Doolittle…and believe me….I’m just naming a few.

But you’re going to be waaaay better than these amateurs right?   You’re going to be an arbitration superstar!  Well, if you say so.

Now that you said no to the deal and gave the Pirates carte blanche AND incentive to squeeze you as tight as they possibly can for the foreseeable future, you don’t have to perform at an all-star level.  You NEED to.  You have no choice.  .263 won’t cut it kiddo.

You think you’ll get more in arbitration than you would with a contract that could have paid you north of $50m with incentives?   Well….I hope so.  Good Luck.  I’m sure you have it all figured out.  No worries.

Oh, one last thing…. just remember every other prospect in the system wants your job and every free agent outfielder needs your job.  So here’s some advice.

Don’t get hurt…don’t get into any trouble off the field….ever….don’t even have so much as ONE bad year….especially while you’re arbitration eligible…don’t strike out too much…don’t get caught stealing too much….don’t hit less than 15 home runs…don’t make too many errors….don’t have a  WAR less than 5.0…don’t  complain…don’t relax… and most importantly…don’t blink.

Because if you do, the Pirates won’t hesitate to turn you into a platoon faster than you can say kool-aid and any number of up and coming prospects won’t hesitate to sign the deal that you didn’t.

But hey, no pressure kid. You got this.

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Tags: Featured Image Gregory Polanco Mark Madden Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Ron Loreski

    Wow bitter much?

    • Tony Canella

      A little. But I’m right too.

    • Ron Loreski

      No, not really.

    • Tony Canella

      Yes, always.

    • Tj Streib

      Many rookies who absolutely tore up AAA fell flat on their faces in the Major Leagues (ask a Brewers fan about Billy Joe Robidoux). NOT saying this will happen with Polanco, but you gotta be a little scared when a player receives as much hype as he’s getting – now he MUST perform! I seem to recall some guy named Jose Tabata was “can’t miss” & was supposed to be the future superstar of this team.

      BTW – Polanco will be making 400K each of his first 3 years in the Majors as opposed to being a millionaire before he ever saw a Major League pitch.

    • Tony Canella

      Kid better show up ready…and stay healthy. Every….single…year.

    • Tj Streib

      People forget about the added pressure of having to live up to the hype – that alone has derailed many a promising career. Brian Bosworth anybody?

  • Scott

    Who’s Bryan Braun? Ryan’s brother that never PED’d ?

  • billv923

    did you ever hear of dino restelli, he was a hot young outfielder that torn up the minor leauges,pirate fans couldn t wait till he was called up. june 14 1949 he was called up, pittsburgh was so excited they had billboards put up about him. time magazine wrote this about him, a rawboned young man with powerfull arms got in to the outfied and started cannonading the fences, in 72 games he hit 12 homeruns, 40 rbis and hit 250, his obp 358 slg 453. dino lasted a few more years ,hit 3 more homeruns and was out of baseball baseball called it onced around the leauge, onced pitchers find out about you, i dont think it will happen to polanco but you never say never.

    • Tony Canella

      Show me one rookie with potential that becomes an all-star and has a long, prosperous career in the major leagues, and I’ll show you 100 that don’t. Always take the money. Renegotiate down the road if you have to.

    • Ron Loreski

      “Show me one rookie with potential that becomes an all-star and has a
      long, prosperous career in the major leagues, and I’ll show you 100 that
      don’t.” So what you’re saying is, odds are Polanco won’t pan out so he should have taken the money anyway? If you’re right, all that does is hurt the Pirates. If he trusts his ability, which I’m sure he does (wouldn’t you?), he feels like he’s going to make more than $25mil. If he’s wrong, that’s his problem and the Pirates luck out.

      But in 2 weeks when Polanco is called up, playing RF and leading off, none of this extension stuff still matter anymore. The focus will shift back to baseball. Too many people out there are absolutely INFATUATED with salary in baseball, they forget what really matters…what happens on the field.

    • Tony Canella

      No. I ‘m not saying that he won’t ‘pan out’. I’m saying that he is in the vast…..VAST minority of baseball players at this stage of his career to turn down a contract. And I would say yes, the odds are against him to outplay that 7 yr $50m contract. There’s a lot that needs to go right for him and very little that needs to go wrong to make that a reality.

      And you’re right. When he hits the field we’ll all be cheering for him. But he better perform. He raised the stakes on himself….the Pirates tried to do the right thing for once.

  • Mike Langhoff

    John Hart pioneered the concept of the contract extension. Hart stated on the MLB network the day after the Polanco contract report came out, that the offer that the Pirates made to Polanco (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘was not good at all’ for the player. The 7 year deal, including the option years would have played out to a 10 year deal assuming all options were picked up; valued @ a total of $60 million at it’s peak, for the life of the contract. He would also be 32 after the contract expired. And then what? Most players reach their prime between 27-29. Sure, it’s a bit of a gamble to not have taken the deal, but its also very possible he could be putting up 25HR/15SB/80RBI/.300BA seasons on the regular, and making $6 million a year for his efforts, when players 3/4′s of his talent or ‘beyond their prime’ are signing free agent contracts valued at equal or even higher. And honestly, I make between 40-50K a year, so the type of money these players make at any level is absurd to me no matter which way you cut it. All I am saying is that while I respect your opinion in offering your insight on why you think he should have signed the deal, Polanco is clearly a confident player who has exceptional belief in his abilities and his earning potential. In the modern day MLB era of hugely inflated contracts and egos larger than the land of make believe itself, there wasn’t a chance Polanco was signing that deal.

    • Tony Canella

      I like this post.

      All valid points. The deal was club friendly without a doubt, but the club options is where he would have made the cash. $7-10m a year on average at that point. Which is pretty good for 29,30 year old. He would still have time to cash in on a ludicrous contract after that as teams like the yankees gobble up veterans and are more than happy to overpay them, but hey…. the kid wanted to wait. So more power to him.

      Now go set the world on fire bub. Anything less than that and you’ll be slapping your forehead in no time.

    • Jonathan Melton

      Unlike our esteemed author, well said.

  • scott stevens

    Aren’t you the same guy at the beginning of the season that was posting all these cold hard facts about how great the team was doing. You ripped others who wanted mgt to spend money to improve this club, you defended Nutting to the end. Well, how are those facts (stats) looking now, looks like you were alittle to quick to play judge and jury. I have to know however, do you actually believe your polar opposite view of most of the reasonable baseball minds or do you do it just to get a reaction from readers who read these blogs?

    • Tony Canella

      It is a little quick to play judge and jury… being that we’re not even 50 games into the season. It’s a long year. Talk to me in September.

    • scott stevens

      Deal, by then we’ll be dead in the water, and Nutting will be counting his free 25 mil each owner received for TV rights for the next 7 Yrs. Hey but the apologists get the fireworks and the real Bucco’s fans get the shaft from the worst owner in sports .

    • Lee Young

      I’m a real Bucco fan and I don’t feel shafted.

      I have zero problem with how Nutting runs this team. No different that many of the other small market teams.

    • Jon Emeigh

      We are seven games behind the Brewers, who will cool off, I agree. But the Pirates as currently constituted show no signs that they will be able to sustain the .600+ ball they would need to catch up. The pitching is not there.

      The there are the Cards, who have not played well but are likely to heat up. The Bucs are already 4.5 games behind them.

      A third of the season is over…not impossible, but the odds are not good.

    • Tony Canella


    • Jon Emeigh

      Their problem isn’t hitting- it’s pitching and defense.

      It is not easy to play .600 ball over a long period of time when you can’t really rely on any of your starters….and the back end is now weak as well.

  • GSamson

    It was a well written article. I don’t care who you are. Big league pitching is far better than AAA and you do not walk away from over $25-30 million before you take an at bat.

  • Jon Emeigh

    You don’t lock yourself up until you are 32 for a contract whose total value .263 hitters would indeed get…maybe even exceed.

    This article was terrible.

    • Lee Young

      how do you know he won’t BE a .263 hitter? Because he is raking at AAA?

      When Travis Snider was 20/21 he had back to back years over .950 OPS. Blue Jay fans were salivating like we are now.

      Personally, I hope he DOESN’T regret signing the contract. But he is NO sure thing.

    • Tony Canella

      What career .263 hitter gets $14m a year who doesn’t hit 25+ home runs every year anyways. Because that’s roughly what he’d get paid in his last year with the club option. Guess that’s not enough..

    • Jon Emeigh

      The option years are not guaranteed, so you don’t factor them in as the full $14 M year.

      The Pirates were asking Polanco to be at their mercy until he was 32 years old for $25 M guaranteed.

      That’s worse than what Marte got.

      Yes- there is a risk that Polanco could completely fall on his face, but that risk is low.

      The offer was not worth someone of his potential. Only someone who thinks this management could do no wrong would believe that it was.

      Polanco could be an average guy who hits .263 and 20+ home runs, and he will get better than $25 M guaranteed. Even Pedro, as Mendoza-like as his BA has been, will get paid when his time comes. Book it.

      You say they should always take the money?

      I say you should never jump at the first offer.

      Especially if you have the potential Polanco has.

      You would have to be stupidly risk averse to take what the Pirates offered.

    • Tony Canella

      Not sure where to start with this.

      Look, can polanco get a more favorable deal if he comes out in his first two years and plays lights out? Sure. So he had two choices:

      1.) Sign a deal that is good for not only him, but that also benefits the organization as a whole and all of your future teammates just like ALL of the aforementioned all-stars in this article did when they were presented the same options INCLUDING ANDREW MCCUTCHEN


      2.) Be A-Rod junior and act like a pig and hold out to get every….single….penny… that you possibly can and absolutely never….NEVER commit yourself to any team including the team that drafted you and then when you’re called up, look at your future teammates and just say… “look… I want to win, but really…if I have to pick between doing everything I can to help my team win like all of the other all-star caliber talent that The Big Tuna mentioned in this article did… or get an extra $10-20m by the time I’m 30, well….I’m getting the extra $10-20 million….because I’m in this for me and me alone… and I’m a pig….ok? So shut up and let’s play ball.”.

      And Polanco, up to this point, has chosen the latter. So that’s that. Again… he is in the vast….VAST….VAAAAST….minority of players to pull a stunt like this. And time will tell if he did the right thing.

    • Jon Emeigh

      Oh- so if the Pirates had offered him…say $15 M guaranteed, he should have taken it?

      After all…it would be good for him and the team.

      How about $10 million? It’s still more than he’d make earning $400K per season.

      What you’re not getting is I disagree with you that it was a fair offer.

      It was too LOW.

      If it had been the whole $40 M that was guaranteed, I would have agreed with you that Polanco was being a greedy pig.

      But only $25 M for that many years of control was not a fair deal. it was a lowball offer.

    • Tony Canella

      Jon, Jon, Jon… the risk is two-fold. You’re not understanding that the Pirates are taking a BIGGER risk than Polanco. He is a PROSPECT. Granted a talented, solid, high-ceiling prospect. But he is UNPROVEN.

      It is statistically more probable that he DOESN’T outplay that contact…as feeble as you belive it is….

      So who took the bigger risk?

      The answer is Polanco has got a huge uphill climb against the odds to carve out a career in this league with no gaurantee.

      So good luck to him. But there’s a reason why dozens of prospects before him signed a similar deal and almost none didn’t.

      With that being said… I will hope he does well. But if he doesn’t sign soon… than OINK OINK!!!!

    • Jon Emeigh

      So by your logic, if the Pirates had offered him $1 more than he will earn over his current contract, it would have been a fair deal.


    • Guest


    • Jon Emeigh

      BTW Tony, if Polanco is playing well enough to earn those option years, then the odds are good he will have been playing well enough to earn those rich arbitration years followed up with a much richer than $40 M C$2 that will be signed years earlier and guarantee him huge jack into his mid-30s.

    • Jon Emeigh

      Snider had holes in his game that were noticeable even as he was raking it in AAA.

      It’s why he progressed so slowly.

      This is why looking at stats and thinking you can tell all from them is ludicrous.

      No question Polanco is a better player than Snider.

  • Lee Young

    I PRAY that Polanco is everything as advertised, but there is a long line of former Top 10 Prospects who failed badly and wished they had taken the money.

    I have a BA spreadsheet listing their Top 10 prospects since ’91. Only 22% were graded “All Stars”. 28% were total busts (think Brandon Wood and Travis Snider).

    Take the money, GP!!!

    • Tony Canella

      Too busy listening to others tell him how good he is. It was a fair offer. He should have taken it. No brainer.

  • arnold ziffel

    $25-million ought to be enough for this guy to live comfortably for a year or two after he leaves baseball (yes, I mean he would be set for life). And if he tears his ACL next week, he could be quickly forgotten. He hasn’t faced major league pitching yet. He’s been spectacular in AAA – but only for 40 or 45 games. We can all remember players who tore up the major leagues for 45 games. Or maybe I should have said forgot those players (I can remember when Ron Blomberg – who? – was on the cover of Sports Illustrated because he was hitting .400). Someone is advising him poorly – at 22, he doesn’t have a lot of business sense, so he’s depending on his agent. Yes, it’s possible that he could earn much more than that if he becomes the real thing in the majors (I hope he does – I’m a Pirate fan), but we’ve seen so many fizzle. Do these agents really have the players’ best interests in mind?

    • Tj Streib

      Wow… Ron Blomberg. A blast from the past. The world’s first ever DH

  • BuccoTy

    This might be the most asinine piece ever written on this site…First off why would a top 10 prospect handcuff himself before even having one major league season for a pedestrian deal. Yea you said the pay could, yes COULD, reach $50 mil but also could be half that. Secondly, the players you mentioned as examples all had something else in common before signing those deals, they all had at least reached the major leagues before the deal was made…most had several years of service. You also fail to mention all of the players in the majors who benefited from waiting and signing a HUGE contract. You think Walker is sitting around crying over the fact that he’s having a career year right before his contract comes up? Maybe, but tears of joy. Finally, you say the Pirates will be quick to replace him….um what past evidence has lead you to believe that? Something tells me a Top-10 prospect with 5 tools and the talent Polanco has will garner him some leeway. But hell I’m sure that Polanco should take career and money advice from an unpaid random blogger who likely hasnt played baseball since middle school

    • Tony Canella

      Oh my goodness…. this one takes the cake.

      So really…you’re telling me that your basis on comparing polanco NOT accepting the offer compare to the other dozen that I mentioned and the dozens other that I didn’t mention that DID accept an offer pre-arbitration is because they actually PLAYED a year or two?

      My friend…why you are so sadly wrong is those other players EARNED that contract…not only that, but the contract they EARNED in many cases is LESS than what polanco was offered.

      Evan Longoria signed a 6 year $17m dollar contract AFTER he produced his rookie season than got rewarded with a $100m dollar contract a few years later. Why? Becasue he EARNED it.

      Polanco has EARNED nothing.. yet you defend him as if he’s already in the hall of fame.

      Who’s taking the bigger risk? The Pirates locking in a guy in who can wash out in a year because of injuries or lack of performance or Polanco who would literally need every….single….star in the sky to align to achieve a long prosperous career in the most competitive baseball league in the WORLD.

      Polanco was greedy….wrong… and hopefully will come to his senses at the end of this year when he realizes….as well as everyone.. that hot streaks end and that cold streaks are soon to follow. ALA 2013 AA Altoona.

      You will realize that too. Just don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

    • Long John Silver

      Here is an offer I hope you except…….Quit and go back to whatever day job you might have. This used to be a decent sight where the writers actually made some solid points and commentary. I stopped reading this site about 3 days into Spring Training because it was pretty much juvenile rants. After reading this “articulate” article, it hasn’t improved.

    • Tony Canella

      If you stopped reading the site, why are you posting on it?

      And I’m going to go ahead and turn down that offer because I believe it will only handcuff me and restrict my overall potential moving forward.

    • Long John Silver

      I read it because someone told me the worst article ever written was posted. Curiousity got to me. Trust me, after this post, I will not be back.

    • BuccoTy

      Must be nice to decide what responses can go through as you block mine

  • Jeff

    The Pirates didn’t offer him a contract because he’s “hot right now”. They recognize the skills he posesses, and the huge upside that possibly seperates him from ANY pirate that has preceded him.
    Please, we all know how difficult it is for Nutting to part with that kind of $. They are well aware of Polanco’s success being a bit more than a hot streak.

    • Tony Canella

      You’re right…. they offered him a contract because they think he has sustainable big-league ability. The accelerated timing of the contract is directly attributed to his hot streak however.

  • Jonathan Melton

    So the basis of your argument is that he should handcuff himself to a deal that takes him well into his prime (and maybe nets him only one more 5-6 year deal afterwards) because of a fear of injury? No sir. That’s not a good business decision on his part, and we must remember that this is a business. The Pirates low-balled him and he declined it. Well done. Now it’s time for a counter offer, and we do the dance until the deal is done. I’m sure Mike Trout is awfully glad he didn’t sign a crazy long deal that took him into his 30′s. He’s primed to make crazy money on his next deal, and so far, he’s earned it. Also, well done. On a side note, all the hyperbole and dot-dot-dots in the world can’t hide the fact that you’re a terrible writer and your opinion isn’t backed by real world facts, which truly makes a great column. Your “article” is littered with grammatical errors and poorly structured sentences. It makes me wonder if your site even has an editor. You sir, are a hack, and you give sports writers (even on the most amateur of scales) a bad name. Shame on you for posting this drivel.

    • Tony Canella

      Thankes fore the grammer lesion Professior Meltone.

      You say “handcuff”, I say “guarantee” and 95% of all prospects will agree with me. That’s why they sign. The only thing that you are quasi-right on is that I’m sure they’ll continue to negotiate and hammer out a deal eventually.

      But really, the fact that you compare Greg Polanco to MIke Trout at this stage in Polanco’s (non-existent) career proves that your “insight” is littered with logical errors and poorly structured examples. It makes me wonder if you might be Mark Madden posting under a surname. Only he would agree with such drivel.

      Thanks for reading… <– Like the dots?

    • BuccoTy


    • Jonathan Melton

      I think Scott Stevens is right. I think you may just be writing this way to be a troll. And you may not think that grammar and punctuation matter Tony, but since this isn’t a Facebook post and it’s a “professional” blog, you should try expressing yourself better. I’m sure the folks down at the GED department are thrilled at how far you’ve come, but we’re not impressed. And for the record, I’m not comparing Polanco and Trout as they are now, merely mirroring their amateur carers. Trout wasn’t hugely hyped when he was drafted, it took a couple years. Had he signed a mega-year deal back in 2011 before he came up I’m sure he’d be regretting it now. The Angels sure wouldn’t. One thing I regret is spending an extra 3 minutes of my life arguing with a simpleton. I’ll never get those minutes back…

  • Tj Streib

    OMG!!! Polanco took the collar tonight! His average is down to .360!

  • philip

    i feel that polanco not accepting the pirates preliminary offer has his agent (whispering in his ear) alllll over it… He must feel confident in his skills that he’ll produce at the next level… Everything shows he can, but lets face it, Mike Trout took a modest rookie deal as well, and when he showed he was face of MLB then the Angels took care of him… i think this is a just a cocky agent and player counting their chickens before they hatch.

  • Yahmule

    Was this supposed to be satire?

  • Guest

    Love this article. Hits on a bunch of points I myself have pointed out. I like many others want to see Polanco at PNC, and if he had just signed the offer sheet, he’d probably be here already. Here’s one thing left out of this column. Josh Harrison has been playing out of his mind, both defensively and offensively. Harrison has EARNED playing time from here out. Where does Polanco fit now? Harrison isn’t going to supplant Walker, and a move to short stop seems unlikely. I have a feeling (to much dismay) that we may only see GP for a cup of coffee in late July and they hold him back for possibly another full year. Especially if Harrison can stay hot.

    …he should have signed the deal.

  • Jon Emeigh

    So…still think he should have signed that contract?