Sunday, July 19, 2009

Buc Bucks

-- The dope on the dynamic duo: Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette and John Perrotto of the Pirates Report both say that they rejected the Bucs' offers.

Wilson's was for two years at $4M per, with an option instead of picking up his current $8.4M 2010 option; Sanchez's was the same length, at $5M per year and voiding the 2010 option of $8.1M.

Neither writer believes the Pirates will come back with substantially reworked deals, so unless there's some unexpected movement, it's adios amigos. (EDIT - DK says the Pirates have pulled the offers, pending some sort of counter-proposal from the infielders.)

There appears to be plenty of payroll room if the Bucs blink. Assuming that Adam LaRoche ($7.05M) isn't signed and Tyler Yates isn't offered arbitration and signed to a friendlier deal (he makes $1.3M this season), here are the Bucs making over the minimum in 2010 (figures from Cot's Baseball Contracts):

Guys with guarantees are Paul Maholm ($4.5M), Ian Snell ($4.25M, but he may be gone, too), Ryan Doumit ($3.55M), and Ramon Vazquez ($2M).

Others are Matt Capps, who makes $2.3M this season and Zach Duke $2.2M; both are up for arbitration if they don't work out a deal (Duke in particular should get a sweet payday, but Capps' save numbers should net him a nice bump, too), John Grabow, who's earning $2.3M, but is in his walk year, and Craig Hansen, earning $825K but not in his arb years yet.

If they hold off on bringing Tom Gorzelanny and Lastings Milledge up for a while, neither of them will become arbitration-eligible until 2011. They'll be joined by Andy LaRoche, Delwyn Young, Jeff Karstens and Phil Dumatrait as first-year arbitration players then, and that's when the purse strings will have to tighten.

The rest of the club will pull down between $400-500K next season. If they sign Wilson and Sanchez at their figures, the payroll will be in the low-to-mid $40M range; if they sign one of the pair, $40M; and if they don't ink either, they'll be in the mid $30M ballpark. And who knows how low it goes if they lose Snell and Grabow, too.

But, in the Pirates' defense, if they pick up the options on Sanchez, Wilson, and the rest of the gang as currently written, the payroll shoots up into the low $50M range, not much by MLB standards but thought to be stratospheric by the Bucs.

According to Cot's, Pittsburgh hasn't hit that level of spending since 2003 and only reached it twice this decade. So payroll shouldn't be an issue in 2010. But rest assured, it will be.

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