After all the trade talks, it looks like Pirates management has decided to try and keep it's double play combination here in Pittsburgh. It looks as if talks between the Bucs and both Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson have began on contract extensions. The cupboard is empty as far as middle infielders go in the organization, so I am not totally against bringing both guys back. If you buy into the theory that you build a team up the middle, then the Bucs would be decent with Doumit, Sanchez, Wilson and McCutchen.
My main questions are Why? and Why now? The timing is very odd, after it looked as if Sanchez was gone before the all-star break ended. I wouldn't read too much into this, as it looks like Pirates management is crumbling to the pressure from the fans.
I will answer the Why Now question first. Huntington knows he isn't bringing these guys back at the numbers they are currently earning. He knows they are on the way out the door. Knowing he is going to be ripped apart by the fan base and the media, Huntington offers them contracts he knows they aren't going to accept. That way, when they are dealt, he can say they refused extensions and he had to deal them. Jack and Freddy become the bad guys in all this.
Now the question of Why would he want to extend them? It's quite simple, he doesn't. He low balls both of them with an offer. If they accept, great. If they don't, he shops them. Both guys are 32 years old and will begin slowing down. He offered Jack a 2 year deal at 4mil per. Jack is making over 8mil this season. Wilson also wants a third year guaranteed. While he said he would take a pay cut, I don't think he meant by 50%.
Freddy, has an option that will kick in for next season, paying him close to eight and a half million. Neither of these guys are 8mil type of players. He offered Freddy a 2 year/$10mil deal, voiding his $8.5mil option as well. Freddy naturally refused. It just wouldn't make sense for him to accept that deal.
So there it is, Huntington has made Sanchez and Wilson the bad guys in this. The one thing he underestimated is how much the fan base loves these guys. He will still get ripped apart for dealing them. Trading them makes baseball sense, if they get good value in return. With their big numbers, I just don't see that happening. One thing Huntington said. I do agree with. Neither guy will get bigger deals in the off-season. Especially with the economy and the way some free agents had to take lower offers at the last minute this season, I see the same thing happening next season.
If the Bucs elect to deal them and don't upgrade both positions, it could look bad next season. There isn't much in the free agent market. The second base class is led by Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson and Placido Polanco. At short, Khalile Greene, Orlando Cabrerra, Miguel Tejada and Marco Scutaro would be available, but judging by the past, the Pirates won't be active in upgrading the positions through the open market.
So choose your sides. Both guys are likely headed out of Pittsburgh one way or another. My guess is Jack is dealt by the deadline and they hold onto Sanchez at the moment. Sanchez will be dealt eventually though, possibly in the off season. The only thing I will predict is that this situation could get very messy in the media for the next few weeks.