The Gregory Polanco Era of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball will last at least another month as he has cleared waivers and will remain with the club
Following Sunday afternoon’s loss against the St. Louis Cardinals news broke that the Pittsburgh Pirates had placed outfielder Gregory Polanco on waivers. At first it appeared that this could spell the end of Polanco’s time in Pittsburgh.
However, later that evening it was reported by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Polanco had 48 hours to be claimed off waivers. If he went unclaimed he would remain with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Those 48 hours have passed and Polanco did indeed go unclaimed. Due to this, for now at least, the much maligned left-handed hitting right fielder will remain a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Polanco is the longest tenured Pirate. He made his MLB debut in 2014 when he arrived in the Majors as a highly touted prospect. Prior to being promoted to the Majors in June 2014 Polanco was one of the 10 best prospects in baseball.
Throughout his MLB career Polanco has at times flashed why he was once one of the top prospects in baseball. From 2015 through 2018 Polanco was worth a total fWAR of 7.5, including a career best 2.5 fWAR in 2018 and a 2.2 fWAR as a key contributor to the 98 win Pirates of 2015.
In September of 2018 Polanco injured his shoulder and knee on a slide into second base that cost him the remainder of the season, as well as most of the first two months of the 2019 season. Polanco then battled more injuries in 2019 and missed time in 2020 due to COVID-19. He has also spent time on the injured list this season.
Since suffering those injuries in September of 2018 Polanco has never been the same player which is a shame. When he was injured in 2018 he was putting together the best offensive season of his career hitting for a .254/.340/.499 slash line, .245 isolated slugging (ISO), 123 wRC+ and 23 home runs. His OBP, slugging percentage, ISO, wRC+ and home runs were all career highs. It appeared Polanco was rounding into his prime prior to the injuries.
This season Polanco has struggled mightily hitting to the tune of a .197/.275/.338 slash line, .142 ISO and a wRC+ of 66. He has also struck out in 27.2% of his trips to the plate. All of this combined with poor defense has led to him being worth a fWAR of -1.4 this season.
Polanco has team options on his contract for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. It would be a stunner if the Pittsburgh Pirates pick up his option this offseason. While Polanco’s Pirate career will most likely end when the regular season ends in October, until then, it appears the last remaining player on the roster to play in the postseason with the Pirates will remain with the club.