July 20: Brewers (47-45) @ Pirates (40-51); Sanchez, Wilson still open to negotiating
It’s safe to say that the comments by GM Neal Huntington on Sunday concerning the contract offers to Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez caught both players extremely off-guard.
To refresh, here’s part of what Huntington said on Sunday: “We felt pretty strongly that our structure was essentially in place, but that we were open to some adjustments off of it — not significant adjustments, not huge differences in years or dollars, but if there was something that added value to the deal for the player, we were open to that. We’ve not received a counter to this point, so in our minds, they are not interested in even the foundation that we’ve laid. The response is such that they don’t even feel we are in the same ballpark because they feel like years, dollars, the foundation is so far off their expectations that it’s not worth countering.”
On Monday, both Wilson and Sanchez made it clear that they had no idea that a counter-offer was even an option. Both believed the Pirates’ initial offers (two years, $8 million for Wilson and two years, $10 million for Sanchez) were non-negotiable. Neither realized there was room to come back to the table.
Said Sanchez: “I did not know that it was negotiable. I was under the impression that a counter-offer was not even an option. I was under the assumption that it was a take-it-or-leave-it deal and that there was going to be no wiggle room. That was the impression I was under. Maybe there was a miscommunication.”
Said Wilson: “It was definitely a miscommunication. At no point have either of us been interested in shutting this down. We both are very interested in being Pirates. I don’t think this is dead by any means.”
Now that they realize that negotiations aren’t necessarily closed, both expressed a willingness to continue discussions. The biggest obstacles lie with Sanchez’s contract, which is not deemed of appropriate value considering his $8 million option for next season is likely to vest automatically.
As for Wilson, he is waiting to make his decision once Sanchez does. Whether or not Wilson returns will hinge heavily on the decision of the second baseman:
“That’s what I’m waiting on,” Wilson said. “The contract offer was forwarded on to my agent, it was forwarded on to me, but at that point, I didn’t really look into it. I’ve let them know I am really interested in staying a Pirate. I’ve really loved putting a jersey on every day. But the direction of the team is really important when you’re a free agent. To not have Freddy, I think we’d be taking a step backward. At that point, it would be a pretty tough decision to make. I’d have to step back and think about that decision. To me, it’s a pretty easy decision if Freddy is here.”
Here’s the full story on the situation.
And now onto actual baseball things…Back in math class, which interestingly enough was always my favorite subject, there was this concept called the “law of averages. ” You know, things eventually even out. Well, that law certainly has to be on the Pirates’ side as they open a three-game series against the Brewers on Monday. Pittsburgh has lost 17 straight to Milwaukee, which would seem to suggest that the Pirates are due. Right? We’ll see..
As for today’s news, notes and randomness…
- Wilson is back in the lineup after experiencing some soreness in his left knee on Sunday when he was hit there by a line drive. Wilson lost the ball in the seats and by the time he saw it, he had no way to get out of the way. At least he was joking about it on Monday: “It was pretty funny,” Wilson said. “I watched it. It looks like I never played baseball before.”
- Triple-A outfielder Lastings Milledge, who the Pirates acquired from the Nationals in late June, was named the International League’s player-of-the-week after going 9-for-17 with five RBIs last week.
- Daniel Moskos, the Pirates’ first-round pick back in 2007, allowed just one hit while throwing six shutout innings in a win on Sunday. Moskos has now won three straight to even his record to 7-7.
- The Pirates’ bullpen has gone 16 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
- Manager John Russell on using Donnie Veal in a one-run situation in the ninth on Sunday: “That’s one of the situations we’d like to put him in occasionally to get a left-hander out. We’ll continue to pitch him and build some confidence with him. I thought he did a good job. We’ll use him that way just to keep him in the game. It’s another opportunity to face a left-hander.” That appearance marked the first time this season that Veal has pitched in a meaningful situation. He retired the only hitter he faced.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF)
- Freddy Sanchez (2B)
- Garrett Jones (LF)
- Ryan Doumit (C)
- Adam LaRoche (1B)
- Delwyn Young (RF)
- Andy LaRoche (3B)
- Jack Wilson (SS)
- Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)
Craig Counsell(2B) Felipe Lopez Mike Cameron (CF)Craig Counsell (3B)
- Ryan Braun (LF)
- Prince Fielder (1B)
Casey McGehee (3B)Mike Cameron (CF)
- Corey Hart (RF)
- J.J. Hardy (SS)
- Jason Kendall (C)
- Mike Burns (RHP)
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