Pirates and Neil Walker, Vin Mazzaro Avoid Arbitration

The Pittsburgh Pirates and second baseman Neil Walker will sign a one year deal for $5.75 M according to Rob Biertempfel, avoiding arbitration. They also signed reliever Vin Mazzaro for $950,000 according to Biertempfel. They have officially avoided arbitration with every eligible player now ahead of the deadline to exchange figures.

Neil Walker was projected to make $4.8 M, while Vin Mazzaro was projected to be $800,000 for the 2014 season. Walker received a significant raise over what was projected. He made $3.3 M last season.

Walker played 133 games for the Pirates in 2013, putting up a .251/.339/.418 slash line. He hit a career high 16 homers and drove in 53 runs. Mazzaro went 8-2, 2.81 in 57 relief outings. He threw a total of 73.2 innings and had 46 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP

There were six players eligible for arbitration going into yesterday. They already agreed to deals with Pedro Alvarez for $4.25 M and Mark Melancon for $2.595 M. Earlier in the day, they signed Gaby Sanchez for $2.3 M and Travis Snider agreed yesterday to a $1.2 M deal.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • Jeff

    Projection for Walker was 4.8, he broke the Nutting piggy bank! :)

    • stickyweb

      So much for the hometown discount from PRNW, huh?

      • Jeff

        Hometown add on!

      • IC Bob

        Why would he give them a discount during arbitration?

  • http://hiddenvigorish.com Hidden Vigorish

    Maybe they are close to an extension with Walker and settled up a little high as a show of good faith while avoiding going further down the Arb process.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

      He either gets an extension or take a hard good look at him now because he’ll be gone by July 31st. The Pirates won’t pay Neal 6-8 million next year through arbitration. I’m betting he will be traded rather than signed to a long term deal.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chrishale525 Chris Hale

        LOL Neil Walker isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. You can bet your house on that. This is where he wants to be and this is where the Pirates want him. He brings in more than they will ever pay him and they have the option of moving him to other positions. This is a top 12 2nd basemen in a down year

      • Y2JGQ2

        traded…….and who would be playing second base oh grand pooba of soothsayers? Last I checked, we have zilch at second base worth starting on a contending team. Wake up from your 2008 recurring nightmare, the storm is past. We are contenders now

    • Y2JGQ2

      Thats EXACTLY what i was thinking……. there is no reason to overpay him otherwise

  • https://www.facebook.com/scott.skink Scott Skink

    On a team where a million dollars might as well be ten million, I don’t get the overpay. And I don’t like it. If there are payroll concerns, all this does is take a million away from someone Bucs could acquire later on.

    Smells like a PR stunt from my cheap seat.

    • IC Bob

      Scott who projected Neal at 4.8 million? A projection really is an educated guess. I think the Pirates have some really smart guys in the front office. I have a feeling if you go to arbitration with Walker. That number ends up higher. I really don’t think the Pirates are afraid to go to arbitration with anyone they they think they can beat.

      • https://www.facebook.com/scott.skink Scott Skink

        Who projected Walker at $4.8 million? Really, you’re on this site asking that question?


        Including this site.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

          The most referenced source is Matt Swartz at MLBTR. His forecasts have historically been excellent although it should be noted that he has missed low on a few projections in the 4-6m range this year. Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy all got a fair bit more than their projections. It seems where Swartz missed in this salary range, he missed low.

        • IC Bob

          Well they were wrong. If you think we settled for to much then you are questioning NH negotiations team. I have not always agreed with NH but one area where I think he has been fantastic is his ability to properly price players for the Pirates. When I say who is making the projections all I am pointing out is its an educated guess by someone (usually done in October) who doesn’t actually negotiate these contracts. The easy ones are the ones for players on the low end of the scale. When the players start getting bigger contracts its easy to be way off.

      • Cato the Elder

        Well, if I’m not mistaken…If the 2 sides go to arbitration, then the team and the player submit a figure, and the arbitrator has to chose one or the other. I don’t realty know how anyone could estimate that end game(that’s 3 moving parts and some intense game theory). In other words, once it hits arbitration, I don’t think anybody knows. But, one can resonably guess what both parties might agree to before hand – if only because it is easier to discern a central tendency rather than deduce how a third party might choose between two strategically chosen extremes.

        With that being said, I think Walker has more leverage than his numbers would imply, not because of what an arbiter might decide (based on numbers) but because of the PR nightmare that arbitration would be when pitting the hometown kid vs. the miserly Bob Nutting and the Pirates. Even if the Lirates win tgey lose in that scenario. Hell, people are already trading him cause Nutting will never pay him next year’s salary!!! I think the Pirates gave an extra million to save themselves whatever goodwill they have earned from their loyal/paranoid fan base over the last year. There are worse way to spend a million.

  • michaelbro8

    This is either a coincidence that all 6 players are signed w/o arbitration, or a show from Nutting that they’re all in with team direction for the long haul to win it all!

    • John Dreker

      The Pirates were one of eight teams that came out and said they were doing the “file and trial” method. Which means if a player and team submitted figures they were going to trial, end of story. No one really wants to go through the arbitration hearing, they aren’t fun in any way and if a team submits a fair figure, they are probably going to win. It looks like all six players got those fair offers from the team and took them realizing that.