Damned if They Do, Damned if They Don’t

The Pirates have by in large been given a long leash by the fan base as they embarked on an aggressive rebuild that many didn’t even understand. Fans understood when they didn’t sign any big free agents too because it just wasn’t something that made sense for the stage the club was in.

OK, not everybody. But enough that they’ve operated with relative unquestioned bliss. Everybody felt the club was in need of change and for the most part that’s been taking place. We’ve watched the prospect group improve and for the most part understood why the club needed to trade players. It’s part of the plan, and while it’s not always fun, it does seem logical.

Well, one of the things the team hinted at and to be blunt, fans expect is to see a sign that the club is committed. To spending money, to investing in legitimate talent, to securing the future and the window they’re trying to open.

For many, this all means one thing, extend Ke’Bryan Hayes.

Enter Joh Heyman.

I question a few things he’s supposed here. First of all these early deals are no more infrequent today, especially since they just really started cropping up recently.

Let’s break this down a bit.

For one thing, “no traction” seems to be something Jon has decided he loves to use.
Oh, yeah I guess I should show you in case you missed a slightly later tweet.

There it is again. Traction. Also note that from Jon’s perspective the only way the club gets any “credit” is if they succeed in getting a deal done. The offer means nothing, there is nothing gained by trying.

Players get to decide what’s right for them too. They don’t just get presented with a deal and aw shucks sign that can’t miss opportunity. Especially in Hayes case, it’s not that he doesn’t need or want money, but it’s fair to say he doesn’t have the very real feeling that he needs to help his family that supported him on the way. Charlie has that on lock down I’d imagine.

In other words he can wait. Now when you offer a 19 year old from the Dominican a 14 year contract worth 200 million or so, versus the very real 5 or 6 year journey to “maybe money” that comes with turning it down. Helping their family is a big part of the goal for many of these young men and sometimes it makes taking advantage of them a bit easier. Well if you can consider paying them that much as taking advantage.

Stories like this crop up every year, the Pirates have done it themselves, McCutchen, Marte, Polanco, and those are just the bigger ones. So it of course stands to reason we’d want and expect the Pirates to do it again with this generation, Hayes, Reynolds, and Keller could all be candidates.

So it shouldn’t shock us the Pirates tried, you know, especially since they told us they were talking to Ke’ about this very thing.

Whatever numbers they were working through, didn’t meet the threshold and when things like that happen, information gets leaked. Agents talk to reporters, team officials talk to reporters. Both want the other to look greedy. One wants to convince everyone they gave it the ole college try. Players want to ‘trust the process’ and make sure you feel they’re just waiting for a fair offer.

At the end of the day, this doesn’t have to get done today. The Pirates control Hayes for half a decade yet, but the opportunity to score some PR and lock down a vital part of the future is rightly something the club is exploring. As misguided as it is, people would see a commitment to Hayes as a sign Mr. Nutting is willing to spend. I say misguided because even if they signed him to a 10 year 200 million dollar deal chances are the last couple seasons would be where the big money was tucked and it’s likely 10 really means 8. Just like Tatis probably won’t spend 14 seasons in San Diego. Just like Stanton didn’t spend the duration of his contract in Miami.

I’m inclined to take from this that the deal isn’t getting done this year, but not that it’s dead in the water. In other words, this doesn’t mean Hayes is always going to say no or the Pirates are always going to low ball.

Chances are this particular ‘report’ was a partial leak by both parties and it doesn’t exactly denote any bad blood or doom. Aside from Heyman’s own illustrative words, its actually quite benign.

I don’t believe they’re done discussing this, but if Hayes continues to swing the way his has since he first put on the big league uniform the Pirates need to realize he gets more expensive every single day, and I’m quite sure they do.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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