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Neil Walker Extension Might Not Be The Best Idea For Pirates

Now that Andrew McCutchen is under contract through 2017 (with a team option for 2018), Pirates fans are debating the topic of a possible extension for Neil Walker. David Todd at Bucs Dugout argues that Walker doesn't deserve one.

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At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Walker isn't likely to become more agile and improve defensively as he ages. He most likely won't be a second baseman when he hits his thirties. Sure, he is a Pittsburgh guy, but when looking at long-term assets, paying Walker guaranteed money now for years that the Pirates already control makes no sense unless you can negotiate a [Jose] Tabata-like contract, which was so much in the team's favor that Tabata's agent resigned rather than have his name associated with the deal.

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I generally agree with David here, and this is the main reason why. McCutchen and Walker are two entirely different players -- McCutchen is a star who has the potential to be a superstar (if he isn't one already) whereas Walker, realistically, is not (at least not beyond Pittsburgh city limits) and does not.

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Walker is a very good, but not outstanding, hitter, and he isn't a great bet to stick at second base into his thirties. Also, his skill set isn't as well-rounded as McCutchen's, which suggests he isn't as likely to age well. Walker is a good player now, but unlike with McCutchen, there isn't much urgency to buy out his free agency seasons, especially when he won't even be eligible for free agency until after his age 30 season. If the Pirates can get Walker to sign a very favorable deal that includes a team option or two beyond that, then fine, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Simply taking him to arbitration year-to-year would be fine.

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More: Neil Walker Extension Shouldn't Be A Priority.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.