The Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the most highly regarded prospects in all of baseball in outfielder Gregory Polanco. By all accounts he is ready to play at the big league level, yet he remains in Triple-A due to service time considerations.
The Pirates have reached the point where they are likely clear if they promote Polanco. The concern is the extra year of arbitration that Polanco stands to gain if the Pirates promote him too soon. The team tried to avoid this situation with pre-arbitration extension offers. Once Polanco turned down those offers, he had to know he was in for a longer wait before finally being promoted.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes that the Pirates might wait even longer yet to exercise additional caution with Polanco’s service time:
Only 112 days remain in the season. The lowest previous Super Two cutoff was two years, 121 days, meaning that it should be safe for the Pirates to summon Polanco without him gaining an extra year of arbitration.
Then again, the members of the Super Two class are impossible to predict two years out. So, it’s possible that the Pirates are taking every possible precaution with Polanco, and why shouldn’t they? Club officials would be subject to ridicule if, after all this, they miscalculated and Polanco qualified for Super Two status.
Rosenthal goes on to make sure that everybody understands the situation here: this is strictly a business decision, with that the priority over Polanco’s readiness and what would be best for the Pirates:
Polanco’s readiness should not be in question — he’s batting .347 with a .945 OPS at Triple-A. But if the Pirates waited this long, they might as well make absolutely sure they take full advantage of delaying his arrival.
Let’s just not pretend that this is all about Polanco finishing his development, OK?
The Pirates are dealing with a delicate situation, as one of their other young star outfielders Starling Marte is seriously struggling. In the meantime, Pittsburgh has climbed back up to a respectable record on the season. It should be Polanco’s time any day now. Whenever it happens, it will be overdue.