It appears as though Gregory Polanco’s eight year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates is finished.
According to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic, the Pirates plan on placing Polanco on outright waivers. At this point, no official announcement has come from the Pirates organization. If this occurs, major league teams would have until Tuesday to claim Polanco or he’d then become a free agent. The 29-year old is making $11.6 million this season and the Pirates would be responsible for that entire salary if he goes unclaimed.
This would been Polanco’s last year with the Pirates because his contract turned into club options for the next two seasons at $12.5 million in 2022 and $13.5 million in 2023. The Pirates had no plans of picking up those options and had the option of buying him out for $4 million.
When signing that contract extension with the Pirates on April 4 of 2016, Polanco was viewed as a key part of the teams future but injuries and inconsistent offensive productivity made him a liability and eventually expendable. Derek Shelton and the Pirates have drawn criticism recently for continuing to place Polanco in the lineup everyday despite his struggles.
For the season, Polanco was hitting just .198 with 11 homeruns and 34 RBI and struck out 98 times in 318 at-bats, which was the third worst strikeout rate in the National League. Polanco’s best season with the Pirates came back in 2016 when he hit .258 with 22 homeruns, 86 RBI, 34 doubles and 17 stolen bases. He finishes his Pirate career hitting .240 with 96 homeruns, 360 RBI, 153 doubles, 19 triples and 98 stolen bases in 3202 at-bats and 817 games.
This move will allow the Pirates to uses players such as Hoy Park, Yoshi Tsutsugo everyday or look at AAA options.