It looks like Pedro Alvarez is going to be a Pirate after all.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed Sunday that Alvarez and the Pirates had come to an agreement on the financial terms of a new contract which would pay Alvarez an official figure of $6.4 million, the highest of any 2008 draft pick.
While the contract is by no means official—it has not been signed, and Alvarez cannot become a Pirate until the current grievance between the players’ union and Major League Baseball is resolved—there are few indications that any further obstacles to Alvarez’ signing will take place.
The grievance between the union and MLB, for one, is likely to go away quickly now that Alvarez and agent Scott Boras seem to have gotten what they wanted. Neither side has much interest in the negative publicity and tremendous legal costs that result from ongoing battles like this one.
The prospective deal looks like a win for both sides. Alvarez gains even more financial security should he prove to be the real deal, as he is guaranteed salaries well above the Major League minimum if he makes the big club—he will make $700,000 in his fourth year in the Majors, for example.
The Pirates end a public relations nightmare at relatively little cost—if Alvarez is in fact in his fourth year in the Majors, a salary of $700,000 will be well worth it—and get to start their first-round pick’s “fast-track” a little earlier than they perhaps thought would be the case a few weeks ago.
For Pirate fans, the news at least slows the downward spiral their team has been headed in over the course of the past month. Bucco supporters have watched as recently acquired prospects such as Andy LaRoche and Craig Hansen showed that they clearly were not ready to play Major League Baseball and pitchers such as Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf displayed that they may not be as good as advertised, either.
The Alvarez saga was to be the nail in the coffin for many Pirate fans—yet another promising player snatched away from them in the brink of an eye. That Pittsburgh would have lost him over a financial dispute would have made the feeling that much worse, as the refrain fans have heard over and over from Pirate management is that of making the best baseball decision regardless of cost.
“Here we go again,” has been the prevailing thought among Bucs’ fans recently, many of whom feared Pedro Alvarez would become the next Matt Wieters. Now they just have to hope he doesn’t become the next Kris Benson.