Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't Sweat The Payroll

The suits sat down with Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette yesterday and showed him that the burst of housecleaning saved them $7M and some change this year, just 13% of the pre-season $55M payroll at the start of 2009.

More telling are the 2010 savings - Freddy Sanchez's probable $8.1M, Nate McLouth's $4.5M, Ian Snell's $4.25M, the $600K buy out of Jack Wilson's deal if they didn't negotiate a new deal, and whatever Sean Burnett would draw in arbitration.

Tom Gorzelanny will enter his first year of arbitration if he stays with the Cubs through out the remainder of 2009. Nyjer Morgan isn't arbitration eligible yet, and Adam LaRoche would have walked as a free agent, and we suppose the same is true for John Grabow.

Ronny Cedeno is making $822,500 and entering his second arbitration year. Lastings Milledge will probably qualify for his first year of arbitration in 2010.

Joel Hanrahan will reach arbitration in 2011, and Charlie Morton, Kevin Hart, Tim Alderson, Jeff Clement, and Jose Ascanio will all end 2009 with a season or less of MLB service time, meaning they're under team control for at least the next five years.

In fact, the Pirates are pretty clean of arbitration players for 2010. Tyler Yates will be in his final arb year, but we understand the Pirates will try to sign him to a minor league deal while he rehabs. Matt Capps and Zach Duke will be in their second eligible season, along with Cedeno. We'd be surprised if they weren't tendered contracts.

If we add up the service days right, Craig Hansen and Milledge should be entering their first year, and Jeff Karstens should qualify as a "Super Two" player. Hansen should be interesting; he's been out with a mystery neck injury all year, is out of options, and has an $825K contract. We'll see if the Pirates get creative or just cut their losses.

In 2011, though, the arbitration flood begins. Hanrahan, Phil Dumatrait, Andy LaRoche, Charlie Morton, Brandon Moss, Ross Ohlendorf, and Delwyn Young should join the party.

So don't begrudge Bob Nutting a brief respite from digging into his pocket. In a couple of seasons, there'll be a lot of guys in line for a nice payday. Or another trade.

(And if GW missed the entry year for someone, hey, you try to add up service time! We went by Cot's Contracts, and think we've gotten it right.)

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