1B/OF Garrett Jones, 2B Neil Walker, RHP James McDonald and 1B Gaby Sanchez are left, and today they filed for arbitration hearings, which begin in February. It's not too uncommon - 133 players filed overall out of 213 eligible in October, and most will settle now that there's a deadline. Last year, Pittsburgh also had eight arb-eligible players and signed seven, with Jones going the distance and losing. The FO generally likes to work out contracts rather than take the arb route.
Per the process, the four will trade figures with the Pirates on Friday. They get to negotiate until, and even during, any hearing date. The figures will be interesting - Matt Schwartz of MLBTrade Rumors projected the arb awards to be $4.4M for Jones, $3M for McDonald, $2.9M for Walker and and $1.8M for Sanchez. The Kid and Jones might both prove thorny to sign if the Bucs are looking for a hometown discount, so we'll see how that plays out. Both Morton (est. $2.6M) and Karstens (est. $3.8M) signed well below the MLBTR projections.
They might as well get used to the process now. Morton has one year of arb left, Sanchez, Jones (Super 2) and McDonald have two years and Walker (Super 2) still has three years remaining, per Cot's Contracts. RHP Mark Melancon, OF Travis Snider, RHP Chris Leroux and RHP Vin Mazzaro could join that class in 2014.
- We forgot to mention yesterday that Jason Grilli will pitch for Team Italy in the WBC.
- David Manel of Bucs Dugout has an estimate of Pirate offensive production in 2013 based on ZIPS and Bill James projections. ZIPS has a falloff and James an improvement, mainly based on differing outcomes for Pedro and Starling Marte.
- Arb isn't the only deadline creeping up next month. Pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton on February 11th.
- Jo Jo Reyes, who pitched at Indy last year and signed during the off season with the Angels, is being released from his contract so that he can pitch in Korea.