The Pittsburgh Pirates reached agreements with nine players today, avoiding arbitration with each player. For all of the details on those deals, check out our post from earlier.

The three players who didn’t agree to terms are Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, and Vance Worley. Those players had a 1:00 PM deadline to exchange figures with the Pirates. The Pirates have been described as a “file and trial” team the last few years, meaning that they’ll go to arbitration with these three players, regardless of the differences. That process will result in an arbitration panel deciding which figure will be awarded to the player in 2015.

The numbers are starting to come out for each player. The first to be announced is Pedro Alvarez, who had a difference of just $500,000.

Alvarez was projected to receive $5.5 M, which is the midpoint of those two figures. It’s hard to say which side will win if the Pirates stick to their guns and go with the “file and trial” approach.

I’ll update this post when the other two players are announced.

UPDATE 6:21 PM: Perchick also reports that Walker filed for $9 M and the Pirates filed for $8 M.

The MLBTR projection was $8.6 M, which means Walker appears to have the edge here if that number is accurate.

UPDATE 8:57 PM: Rob Biertempfel reports Vance Worley’s numbers.

Both figures are below the MLBTR projections. If accurate, that means Worley has a better shot of winning any potential arbitration cases.

UPDATE 9:00 PM: I updated the 2015 payroll page with a few changes. Since it’s impossible for Walker to receive $8.6 M (unless the two sides come to an unlikely deal in the middle, slightly towards Walker’s favor), and it’s impossible for Worley to receive $2.9 M, I went with the most likely arbitration outcome. To get this, I used the MLBTR figures ($8.6 M for Walker, $2.9 M for Worley) as a guide for how much each player was worth. Whichever number was closer between the above filings is the new projection. In both cases, the player is the projected winner, making Walker’s new estimate $9 M, and Worley’s new estimate $2.45 M.

As for Alvarez, I wasn’t sure how to handle that, since the MLBTR estimate is the mid-point between the two figures. Since the other two estimates favor the players, I went with $5.75 M for Alvarez. There’s a reason for this, and it is as follows.

The total estimated payroll is $90,511,750. The minimum payroll is $88,561,750. The only difference between the two payrolls is that the minimum represents what would happen if the Pirates win all three cases. The projected payroll represents what would happen if the Pirates lose all three cases. This means that the Pirates are looking at a payroll right now between $88.5 M and $90.5 M. This doesn’t include Jung Ho Kang’s deal, since the annual amounts haven’t been announced. It also doesn’t include specific numbers for the league minimum players, although I doubt that will change the projections much.

As for the sum of today’s arbitration moves, the projected payroll didn’t change that much. The total difference was a $437,500 increase to the payroll. If Alvarez loses his case, then it will be a slight decrease in payroll from where things stood with just the MLBTR projections. That puts the Pirates at $90 M, which is a figure I think they’ll be sitting at even if they win all three cases, due to the eventual addition of Kang’s salary.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Pedro going to arb after a flaming pile of a year sure endears him to Pirate fans…but guys deserve a paycut and get raises all the time in sports so it’s not anything new. Get all you can Pedro because Boras gets a lot of it.

    • I want Pedro to run out of the dugout on Opening Day wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey just to see all the yinzers heads explode. Go full-on heel, Pedro. Lets make this fun.

      • Yeah, a Ray Lewis or Joe Turkey Jones jersey or Lindros or something. Haha! Hell, just wear a Yadier Molina Jersey and do it up right!

        • Someone get Vince McMahon on the phone, we gotta do the heel situation perfectly. I want Hulk Hogan NWO like freak out from fans.

  2. Tim,
    I know you cannot accurately predict exactly what Alvarez,Walker,and Worley are going to get in their arbitration cases but approximately how much will the Pirates be spending on player payroll for the opening day roster. Are they going to reach 100 million dollars?

        • Yes, high side is if the players all win the case, low side is if PIT wins all cases. As said in the article, the only thing that number doesnt include is the Kang deal. So overall PIT is somewhere just north of 90 million to start the year.

  3. so I posted this in another thread, but would like to get some talk on it.

    Just my input, but I feel Bell has just an ugly finish. He loads correctly with the hands setting up nicely, but I do wish the hands set a little lower, but I feel he will be an extremely great line drive hitter. His off balance-ness does not give me too much heartburn. If scouts and manager around say he is barreling the ball up, I don’t care how he finishes his swing. As for meadows, the hands are fast just like mccutchen and cannot wait to see this kid rise up through the ranks. Glad to be a bucco fan and kuddos to NH.


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    Nick • 3 hours ago

    Just to add. No hitter is the same, and what works for one may not work for another. If he is comfortable with is hands high at the load and he is able to catch up with a fastball, by all means let the kid do it. I’ll be interested to see if he can pull the switch hitter part up into the majors or if he has to change to all lefty. Does anyone know his splits from right to left? Also, I’d like to make a stand for the vanimal and all that think he is just a 5 or may lose his job to Jeff Locke, Please….. The guy is Jeff Locke only he is right handed and can actually hit his zones and work a hitter. I have no problem with Locke as a 5, but to say Worley would lose a spot is asinine. I would be happy with him as our 4 for what I think he can give us and his pay. So exited to see this rotation next year as comes as cole, liraiano, taillon, kingham, morton. WOWWWWWW.

    • Nick: 2014 – LH-.332/.387/.465/.852– RH-.312/.353/.447/.800
      2013-LH – .272/.353/.442/.794– RH-.302/.353/.491/.844

      Regardless of what he looks like before, during, or after the swing, he is a damn good hitter from either side of the plate. In 2013 he posted those numbers at Lo A after only 60 AB’s as a professional in 2012. In 2014 the majority of the stats were in Hi A. If he maintains that type of performance in AA, and his glovework at 1B continues to improve, look for this kid in June 2016 as our full time 1B.

      • That’s a bit of a dangerous way to think of player development. Using results to justify flaws will only set him up for failure.

        Minor league splits – especially short-side – are unreliable because of very small number of actual good pitchers seen. Ike Davis mashed lefties in the minors, too.

  4. Does this give any indication that Walker would be opposed to giving the Pirates the home town discount on an extension if there was ever an attempt

    • If they can’t get within a million bucks of each other in arbitration, that tells you a lot about how far apart they must be on his free agent years.

    • I don’t think there is such a thing as a hometown discount, Brady gave the Pats a discount, but it had nothing to do with the hometown. McCutchen gave no hometown discount, he was being compensated for his ARB years and there was risk on both parts, no hometown involved. A lot of players want to stay where they are, but in the end the almighty dollar rules. This post is not about a couple of dollars difference between player and team to stay with the same team.

      • Brady isn’t from New England, McCutchen isn’t from Pittsburgh. There is absolutely such thing as a hometown discount. Neil Walker knows he would have to give the Pirates a discount to keep him in Pittsburgh past 2016 and It’s not going to happen and this fight over 1 million dollars proves that. Mccutchen gave the Pirates a significant discount he left a TON of money on the table to sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh beyond his arbitration years. He would have to do the same to stay in Pittsburgh but it’s most likely not going to happen. He will hit free agency and Cash in. But at least he gave the Pirates a bigger window than it originally would have been

        • Andrew McCutchen did not give the Pirates a huge discount or leave a ton of money on the table.

          The extension he signed was very much commensurate with those signed by similar players. The fact that he turned into the second best player on the planet happened after the fact.

        • Gotta remember Cutch wasnt “MVP” Cutch until after he signed his deal….so he really didnt leave a ton. PIT just had the extreme fortune of agreeing to that deal a year before he became a top 5 player in the game.

          • He said in an interview that he did leave money on the table to stay in pitt because he liked what was happening and wanted to be a part of it. ( mlb network, ken griffey jr’s show)

            • pb: Who are you going to believe? Just kidding. I watched that program and liked it a lot, but the fact is that ‘Cutch had posted some good numbers, but other young OF’s like Justin Upton and Jay Bruce had already been paid that $50+ mil contract extension. Most Pirate fans were clamoring for the front office to step up and sign ‘Cutch to an extension, but then again, some were saying it was too early. The front office did work out the extension and it was almost exactly the same as what Upton and Bruce had already gotten. There was no mention of money left on the table at that time. However, he has excelled and brought nothing but praise to the Pirates.

              I have submitted many posts over the past year that the Pirates need to sign him to an extension to carry him through his entire career. I think it was around 6 years and around $118 mil – some on PP have been supportive, while some think it is too soon. It is never too soon to wrap up a guy who just continues to achieve more each year. Just catching the Best CF’s on MLB and Andrew McCutchen was selected by the Shredder as the best in the game.

              • Logistically an extension is tough. Cutch didnt really get a chance to cash in yet, so his next contract will be his last major chance to earn big money. So its gonna take a pretty sizeable offer over a good chunk of years, and PIT really doesnt have to make that commitment if they feel Cutch ages 33+ wont be worth whatever price is being haggled over. Cutch a lifelong Pirate is the goal, but its tough to see both sides agreeing without one side giving in on something. Either Cutch takes good but not market level money, or PIT suddenly decides that market level (or dang close to it) is ok for a guy likely beyond his prime years since its Cutch.

                If im the GM, im honest about it. We would love to have him, but at a price we feel is fair and allows us to continue to field a division winning team around him. If Cutch settles for just 18-20 million per year, go for it. Unless he regresses pretty hard, he could get 25 easy on the market if he is serious about testing FA.

              • See my reply to lukas, i ‘m not against extending cutch, I do see however in three years or so a transition to the infield for cutch, kinda like stargell when the legs start to go.

            • Im sure he thinks he could have gotten more on the open market, and maybe he could have. But we arent talking substantial amounts, as he had not put up numbers that were indicative of what was to come. He doesnt make 5-10 million more per year on the open market, unless a team buys high on his defense and ability to be on base at that point.

              • All valid points lukas and I don’t disagree, that still does not change the fact that he stayed in the burgh because he wanted to for less money. You could say he started the whole reinvigoration of pirates nation by wanting to be here. The old build it and they will come line.

                • I dont see Cutch getting a ton more on the open market, he signed just as much for the security aspect of it as opposed to leaving millions on the table. Andrew McCutchen was, at the time, not significantly better than some of the other FA options at OF.

        • Hometown discount can apply to any player willing to give the team he is playing for a discount to stay with that team, a number that is below market value. A hometown discount in the case you are making is that because Walker is from Pittsburgh that makes any money that he takes from the Pirates that is below market value a hometown discount, essentially we are talking about the same thing, IMO the fact Walker is from Pittsburgh has nothing to do with financial negotiations between he and the Pirates, this is business, Walker IMO, is showing he wants upper 2nd basemen money and the Pirates usually pay market value and are within their right to negotiate at any price they want to, the Pirates are looking at what he can bring for the future and Walker is looking at what he has done in the past, since age is such a prominent factor in these negotiations, discounts are not likely to apply, Walker will go for his last big contract and the Pirates are not likely to take the risks involved.

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