Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Future is Now in the Outfield

Tuesday saw the long-anticipated arrival of RF Gregory Polanco.  He was called up because of the emergency appendectomy of Neil Walker, which makes me wonder how much longer he would have to wait in AAA.  No matter, he's here now and I can't envision the Pirates sending him back down (short of him struggling epically).

The Pirates now sport an OF that is the envy of all of baseball.  All three of Marte/McCutchen/Polanco were not only top 50 prospects (and higher in the case of McCutchen and Polanco), but also capable of playing CF for nearly every team in baseball.  Each of them have a combination of power and speed that makes scouts and fans alike drool.

Both Marte and McCutchen are under team control for many years to come, at far below market value rates.  McCutchen is here until 2017 with a 2018 club option.  Marte is here even longer through 2019, with two team options in 2020 and 2021.  By virtue of his callup, Polanco is under team control through 2020, before any potential extension comes into play.

The things we build don't last forever, though.  At some point, hopefully not for financial reasons, the Pirates may look to trade one of the triumvirate in order to strengthen another part of the team.  The Pirates' cupboard is stocked in the minors with OF prospects, too.  Austin Meadows, Harold Ramirez, and Josh Bell (although I feel he's a future 1B) are all progressing at various speeds through the minors and have great pedigrees.

For right now, enjoy watching these three together.  I can't help but think that any short/medium term success the Pirates experience will be on the backs of their OF.

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