I’m going to keep it short tonight, because I’ve been sick since Friday, we’re in that dead zone right before Spring Training where there is nothing to write, and while trying to think of an article, I read that Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, which totally zaps any creative energy and motivation I have tonight. First, The Colbert Report. Now, The Daily Show. Fortunately John Oliver’s show on HBO is hilarious (highly recommended, and not really a big focus on politics like the other two), but there is going to be a void for nightly news satire. I’m a fan of Larry Wilmore’s work on The Daily Show and The Office, and am looking forward to seeing more of his show. Now, on to some Pirates related thoughts.
**Vance Worley Wins Arbitration Case. I don’t really care which side ends up winning an arbitration case, since either way, the player is going to get paid a good amount of money. That said, out of the three arbitration cases this off-season, if I had to choose one for the player, it would be Worley. Neil Walker is getting a big payday no matter what. Pedro Alvarez is getting a big raise because arbitration looks at the career, and not the recent season. In Worley’s case, you have a guy who wasn’t even in the mix to be a member of his team’s starting rotation this time last year. The Minnesota Twins wanted to convert him to a set-up man, and by the end of Spring Training had such little regard for his future that they traded him for cash. We know how that worked out for the Pirates. He got his delivery back on track, he put up some nice numbers last year, and a year later he not only gets paid a nice salary through arbitration as a starter, but gets acknowledged by the arbitration panel as being worth more than the team offered. Last year at this time you might have believed that Neil Walker would get $8 M, or that Pedro Alvarez would get $5.25-$5.75 M. But I don’t think anyone would have projected this outcome for Worley a year ago.
**The only big salary decision remaining is Pedro Alvarez, and the difference isn’t major. If the Pirates win ($5.25 M), then their projected payroll will be at $89,797,000. If Alvarez wins ($5.75 M), then the projected payroll will be at $90,297,000. There will be some changes with the league minimum salaries (which are usually published on Opening Day), but nothing major. It looks like the Pirates will start the season with a payroll at $90 M. In the last few years they have added an average of $8 M during the season, so you can expect the total payroll at the end of the year to approach $100 M.
**Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Draft Preview: Two Lefties At The Top For Prep Pitchers. John Dreker continues the draft previews for the site, looking at the top prep pitchers this time around. That seems like a very relevant area, as the Pirates tend to focus heavily on prep pitchers. They took two in their top four picks last year. Yesterday’s preview was the prep hitters, which was dominated by a strong outfield class.