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 Post subject: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:06 pm 
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Last year, I desperately wanted the Pirates' front office to sign Andrew McCutchen to a contract extension. They did. That and the A.J. Burnett trade were the two best moves made by NH and company before the 2012 season.

This year, I'd like the Pirates' front office to sign Neil Walker to a contract extension, provided the Pirates' physicians believe that the back trouble he experienced down the stretch isn't going to be a persistent problem. The sides should be talking, and here's what ESPN had to say about it:

After signing franchise star Andrew McCutchen to a long-term extension just before last season, might the Pittsburgh Pirates be looking to do the same with Neil Walker?

McCutchen's deal for $51.5 million over six years, which was signed last March, looks like a bargain for the Pirates. Walker, 27, isn't exactly in McCutchen's class as a player, but he's proven to be a solid second baseman the past three seasons and a key part of what the Pirates are building.

The idea that Walker, who has hit .282/.341/.429 since 2009 but did suffer through a prolonged back injury over the second half of 2012, could be a candidate for a long-term contract comes from Tom Singer of MLB.com.

Walker is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter as a Super Two qualifier, so he'll actually go through the arbitration process up to four times -- rather than the typical three -- because of the service time he's accumulated compared to others in his 2010 rookie class. That's another reason why it might behoove GM Neal Huntington to explore a deal that keeps both sides happy in advance of the February arbitration hearings.

As for a deal that could serve as a possible comparison, consider the contract the Rays gave Ben Zobrist in 2010 that took him through his arbitration years, and potentially the first two seasons of his free agency: $18 million for four years, plus team options for 2014 and 2015 that could bring the total value close to $30 million.


I'd be all for signing Walker to a four-year, $20 million deal with options for 2017 and 2018 that could bring the total value up to about $35 million. That sounds fair to me a for a guy that hits well, gets on base, and plays pretty good defense. Plus, have you heard that he's from Pittsburgh?


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:42 pm 
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No argument here, I'd shoot for a 6 year deal. Lock up the hometown franchise face through his age 32 season. He is clearly a 2-3 WAR player, I'd offer something like this -
2013 - $4 million
2014 - $6 million
2015 - $8 million
2016 - $10 million
2017 - $12 million
2018 - $12 million option ($2 million buyout)

Basically 5 years $42 million guaranteed, with a 6th option year. His price tag will just go up in 2014 with the new TV money.

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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:02 pm 
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Barrys Dopers wrote:
No argument here, I'd shoot for a 6 year deal. Lock up the hometown franchise face through his age 32 season. He is clearly a 2-3 WAR player, I'd offer something like this -
2013 - $4 million
2014 - $6 million
2015 - $8 million
2016 - $10 million
2017 - $12 million
2018 - $12 million option ($2 million buyout)

Basically 5 years $42 million guaranteed, with a 6th option year. His price tag will just go up in 2014 with the new TV money.


That's a good framework. It might take a couple of million more over the first three years to get him to sign, but the Pirates need to get him under a long-term deal. The team simply doesn't have many guys who get on base at a .340 clip.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:54 pm 
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The Pirates have to sign their quality young players as often as they can, and Walker is an obvious choice. I agree that this should be at or near the top of the priority list.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:04 pm 
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I believe that the purpose of prospects is to trade them for quality ball players. Walker is no prospect, he's a fine ML player and we should lock him up for the foreseeable future.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:07 pm 
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val wrote:
I believe that the purpose of prospects is to trade them for quality ball players. Walker is no prospect, he's a fine ML player and we should lock him up for the foreseeable future.


I disagree. The purpose of prosepects is to develop them into quality ball players for your own team. At least for low revenue teams like the Bucs.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Barrys Dopers wrote:
No argument here, I'd shoot for a 6 year deal. Lock up the hometown franchise face through his age 32 season. He is clearly a 2-3 WAR player, I'd offer something like this -
2013 - $4 million
2014 - $6 million
2015 - $8 million
2016 - $10 million
2017 - $12 million
2018 - $12 million option ($2 million buyout)

Basically 5 years $42 million guaranteed, with a 6th option year. His price tag will just go up in 2014 with the new TV money.


I'd go for that assuming his back is not a chronic issue. Back issues scare me though. Even if he is able to play with back pain, if it further restricts his range, he might not be a middle infielder any more.

So, how confident are we in the Pirates medical staff?


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:32 pm 
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BBF wrote:
So, how confident are we in the Pirates medical staff?


This question frightens me.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:11 pm 
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BBF wrote:
I'd go for that assuming his back is not a chronic issue. Back issues scare me though. Even if he is able to play with back pain, if it further restricts his range, he might not be a middle infielder any more.

So, how confident are we in the Pirates medical staff?

Actually, this is a great question. My favorite soccer team has the world's worst physios (what the English call doctors) and we're constantly hamstrung (pun intended) by getting guys who get injured and never make it back onto the playing field.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign Neil Walker to an Extension
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:24 pm 
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val wrote:
BBF wrote:
I'd go for that assuming his back is not a chronic issue. Back issues scare me though. Even if he is able to play with back pain, if it further restricts his range, he might not be a middle infielder any more.

So, how confident are we in the Pirates medical staff?

Actually, this is a great question. My favorite soccer team has the world's worst physios (what the English call doctors) and we're constantly hamstrung (pun intended) by getting guys who get injured and never make it back onto the playing field.



Come on, man....that's a low blow calling the Steelers a soccer team.

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