Wednesday, December 2, 2015

To Tender Or Not To Tender...Adios, El Toro (Jaff, Too)

To tender or not to tender, that was the question. These were the guys involved and their estimated arb salaries via Matt Schwartz of MLB Trade Rumors:

  • Neil Walker - $10.7M
  • Francisco Cervelli - $2.5M
  • Mark Melancon - $10.0M
  • Chris Stewart - $1.6M
  • Pedro Alvarez  - $8.1M
  • Tony Watson - $4.6M
  • Jared Hughes - $2.2M
  • Jordy Mercer - $1.8M
  • Jeff Locke - $3.5M

The guys who were locks to get a tender offer are Fran Cervelli, Jared Hughes, Jordy Mercer and Tony Watson, thanks both to need and cost. With JA Happ's defection, Jeff Locke looked pretty solid, too. Stew doesn't cost a lot and gives Elias Diaz a chance to hone his hitting. Mark Melancon and Neil Walker are both getting a little pricey, but the team would be nuts to not keep them under team control if for no other reason than to deal them. Unlike Pedro, they have some market value. And if the FO doesn't get a price they like for the duo, the team is better off in 2016 with them. So that group was pretty well set in stone.

Alvarez was the $64,000 question. Pittsburgh wanted to move him, much like Mark Trumbo and Alonso Yonder, but the rest of the league said "no thanks." It appears no one, including Pittsburgh, was willing to toss $8M at Pedro. Losing his bombs hurts, but the platoon status, strikeouts, errors and batting average outweighed the power. Both he and the Bucs needed to turn the page; both should land on their feet. If it makes him feel any better, Houston's Chris Carter landed in the same boat.

Yep, that's Josh Bell you see turning cartwheels; his MLB future looks a lot closer now. Mike Morse will hold the fort at 1B until at least June, when Bell will likely take his big league bow while Jake Goebbert has a great chance to break camp as a Bucco, barring any other moves. One that may be tempting is to see if The Kid would spend the year at first base. We'll find that out at spring training, if he makes it that far.

Pedro didn't make the cut (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
A less known deadline is that for players on the 40-man that haven't reached arb yet; they too must be tendered contracts. And they all were except for Jaff Decker, who in actuality isn't a bad bench outfielder, but was elbowed out by the glut of young OF'ers in the pipeline (and also on the 40-man): Keon Broxton, Willy Garcia and the most touted of the lot, Harold Ramirez. Somehow, P-Flo made it past the cut.

So long to Pedro. Hopefully, a change of scenery will help him reach the potential everyone saw in 2008. We'll kinda miss Jaff, too, but life as a depth outfielder is awfully Darwinian in MLB. The Pirate roster is now down to 38 players, and we're guessing there will be more than a couple more cards to be played during the off season. The pitching, both rotation and bullpen, will need addressed.

So another small step toward 2016 has been taken. There will be many more before it's time to play ball.

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