Pirates open to discussing extension with Neil Walker

Dilip Vishwanat

The second baseman still has three more years of arbitration before he is eligible for free agency.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in talking about a contract extension with second baseman Neil Walker, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

The Pirates just had their best season in 20 years, including their first postseason appearance since 1992, and now they are turning their eye toward the future of the team. Walker, who has been Pittsburgh's starting second baseman for the last four years, figures to be a part of that future. The switch-hitter batted .251/.339/.418 in 133 games last year, and has posted a line of .274/.340/.426 over the last four seasons while swatting 54 home runs. He has often been criticized for subpar defense throughout his career, but many defensive metrics, including Defensive Runs Saved, gave him positive marks in 2013.

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An extension would be a good idea for both sides at this juncture. Walker is under team control for the next three seasons, and is eligible for arbitration in each of those years. Working out a deal now would give the 28-year-old Walker some financial security, while providing the team with cost certainty as they lock up one of their key players for the long-term.

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