Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Arb Clock Is On...

The next housekeeping chore for the Bucs will be coming to terms with their arb-eligible players. They are, with their estimated arbitration values as provided by MLB Trade Rumors:
  • Joel Hanrahan, RHP: $4M
  • Casey McGehee: $3.1M 
  • Jeff Karstens, RHP: $2.8M
  • Garrett Jones, RF/1B: $2.4M
  • Charlie Morton, RHP: $2.1M
  • Chris Resop, RHP: $1.1M
  • Evan Meek, RHP: $900K 
  • Jason Grilli, RHP: $800K (signed to a 1 year/$1.1M contract)
Other arb candidates were IF Brandon Wood, 1B Steve Pearce, and RHP Ross Ohlendorf, who were non-tendered, and RHP Jose Veras, who was traded to the Brew Crew for 3B Casey McGehee.

If the MLB Trade Rumor figures are close to accurate, the eight will cost Mr. Nutting $17.5M.

The Pirates traditionally begin contract talks after the first of the year. The players can file for hearings from January 5th through the 13th, and so far Grilli is the only player the Pirates have struck a deal with. That's not a drop-dead date; figures are exchanged on the seventeenth, and the actual hearings before an arbitrator don't begin until February 1st, running through the 21st. A deal can be struck anytime before the judge rules.

So the FO has a month or more to ink the players to a contract instead of going through a hearing. And we guess they will come to terms. Last year was the first time they took a player to arbitration, and Ross Ohlendorf gobsmacked them for $2M. Our guess is that they'll avoid the process if at all possible.

They'll all be one-year contracts. The only guy who is really worth tying up is Hanny, and the Pirates are loathe to sigh relievers long-term. And he'll do just fine with a "show-me" deal.

Next year will be a little more problematic. Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and James McDonald all become arb-eligible. Look for those back-burner contract deals that are barely on simmer now to heat up next off-season when some real money begins to get tossed around.

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