The Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles had trade talks involving Neil Walker at the GM meetings last week according to Rob Biertempfel. He reports that the talks quickly broke down due to the high asking price from the Pirates. Since it is early in the off-season, there shouldn’t be any rush to move Walker, so a high initial asking price is no surprise. He has one year left before hitting free agency and he is projected to make $10.7M through arbitration this winter. Walker hit .269/.328/.427 in 151 games this season

Earlier in the day, Neal Huntington commented that the recovery of Jung Ho Kang won’t impact what they do with Neil Walker this off-season. It’s still early in his recovery process, but Kang is expected back sometime after Opening Day, though the best case scenario would have him ready close to the opener.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Walker and Murphy are both 30 years old. Both have about the same career stats.

    Daniel Murphy

    2015 Regular Season 130 499 56 140 38 2 14 73 31 38 2 2 .281 .322 .449 .770

    2015 Postseason 14 58 13 19 2 0 7 11 6 13 1 1 .328 .391 .724 1.115

    Career 903 3354 422 967 228 20 62 402 218 440 57 21 .288 .331 .424 .755

    Neil Walker

    2015 Regular Season 151 543 69 146 32 3 16 71 44 110 4 1 .269 .328 .427 .756

    2015 Postseason 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000

    Career 836 3063 405 833 174 17 93 418 278 593 26 19 .272 .338 .431 .769

    walker has 60 more HR’S in 300 lest ab. Murphy makes better contact and has a better average by 16 points. They both are challenged on defense. Murphy is expected to make $50m and the Orioles say Walker is dog sh#t. I would take Walker over Murphy, at lease he makes plays he can get to. Murphy misplays a lot of balls hit right at him.

  2. I don’t want to see Walker go, but if the Orioles want to send Mike Yastrzemski and Dylan Bundy to the Pirates in exchange, I would consider it!

  3. I like Neil Walker, but he no where near good enough to warrant $11 million. The Orioles have a young reliever named Jeremy Blach I think – he is pretty good and pitched well last season. He would be a good return, maybe along with a C/B prospect as a throw in?

    • In today’s market, I think he is…probably in the $14-$15M range, but, for a small market team…no. With the Pirates’ budget, it’s necessary to get more production than salary allocated. If they could get a couple of guys whose eventual production is somewhere between Mercer and Harrison…and maybe a low minors #4 starter, I think that would be alright.

  4. I realized yesterday that I have been so focused on who might go and who they might bring in, that I didn’t consider an interesting scenario: the Pirates could bring back almost exactly the same team as last year and not be wildly over budget.

    Using the current salary table on this site and fangraphs crowdsourcing results (and a ballpark for SRod), They would have a payroll of about $117M.

    Assumptions:
    Soriano $7M
    Blanton $4M
    Bastardo $4M
    Happ $10M
    Rodriguez $2,5M

    They’d have a rotation of Cole, Liriano, Happ, Morton, and Locke — similar to last year
    Same catching tandem as last year: Cervelli and Stewart
    Same infield: Alvarez, Walker, Mercer, Harrison (with Kang joining the team later)
    Same outfield: Marte, Cutch, Polanco
    And the bullpen would be even better than last year: Melancon, Watson, Hughes, Bastardo, Soria, Blanton, Caminero.
    Aside from Stewart on the bench they’d have Morse, Ngoepe, Broxton or Decker and another util TBD.

    The regression candidates are Cervelli & Melancon, and I expect better years from Cutch & Polanco.

    But basically, it would be the same offense & better bullpen than the team that won 98 games last year, with all their minor league guys a year closer to helping if needed.

    • Soria is as good as gone, he’s asking way too much. I’m all for the Pirates splurging, they need to spend more, but Soria isnt worth it for what he is asking. He was a luxury for a team that was in a pennant chase.

      • yah, god knows winning 98 games means you aren’t in a pennant chase. Second rate team? Really? That is a pretty stupid comment.

          • So, you think there is some magic formula other than the ability to win games that translates into the ability to win playoff games? And you are basing this on a sample size of one game?

          • Nobody wants to settle. Everybody wants what Royals have. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous. Please don’t insult us who are proud our team won 98 games.

      • I’d be okay giving Soria 7mil a year for 3 years as a set up man and moving Watson to closer. Trading Melancon for hopefully something solid, because he has to regress. I’ll admit he continues to prove me wrong. I’ve always wondered how the hell he does so well, even losing some velocity, but he proves me wrong.

    • Soria is seeking 3/27.

      The signing of Hill at 1/6, I think, puts Happ beyond the $10M range…maybe he takes a one-year deal at 12…but I’m sure he’s looking at 3/33. Don’t know that I want to lock up someone for that long with such an unimpressive track record.

      Bastardo is the best lefty FA on the market. I’m guessing he signs for more than $4M AAV.

      Rodriguez…why?

        • That every player could be be brought back isn’t a question. Sure, they could. And payroll (considering arbitration) would be $120ish. Meanwhile, the Cards are still the Cards and are going to be tough. The Cubs are going to add Price and more. The Mets, with their pitching, are getting better and the Nats can win anywhere from 80-105.

          Simply put, the same players…especially considering the luck the Pirates had in 2015, doesn’t guarantee anything.

          • As I said, I don’t think their luck was particularly good or bad last season. In terms of player performances some underperformed and some overperformed. In terms of Pythagorean wins, they were lucky at +5. (The Cardinals were +4 and the Cubs were +7)

            • They had the worst defense in the league. Melancon saved 51/53.

              Neither of those seems repeatable.

              The Cards have been a top-notch organization for quite a long time and there’s no reason to assume they’ll be anything less in ’16. The Cubs probably played above their heads, but they’ll open up the checkbook in the winter and add a lot of talent.

              Simply bringing back the same players at 10-20% more cost and hoping they’ll all play as well is not a recipe for success.

              • Well, they didn’t have the worst defense in the league, but I do agree they are unlikely to repeat that… which kind of goes to my point. And I already mentioned Melancon as a candidate for regression, so that’s already agreed, too.

                Yes, the Cardinals are a great org. But they have lost Heyward and Lance Lynn, and they got big overachievement from Piscotty and Grichuk last year. Molina is in decline. There are lots of reasons why they could be worse next year than in 2015.

                The Pirates are also a great org. And my point is not that they should bring back the exact same team, it’s that they could and it would probably be better than last year. If they can improve on Alvarez and Rodriguez, then great, they should! But they don’t need to do something just to do something.

                • They didn’t have the worst defense in the league? Name a team with more errors.

                  They were dead last in the NL and only Oakland had more miscues in all of baseball.

                  STL hasn’t lost Heyward yet. Lynn, yes, but they played almost the entire season without Wainwright and he’ll be back in 2016…so it’s pretty much a wash. They may, in fact, be worst next season…but their floor with the current roster is still higher than the Pirates ceiling.

                  The Pirates are a good organization. But, contrary to your opinion, I’d argue…if they bring back the same team they won’t be better – they’ll be worse.

                  C: Cervelli…obviously a career year…he’ll need to do at least that next season.

                  1B: Alvarez…just a blackhole.

                  2B: Walker…on the wrong side of 30. Middle infielders do not tend to improve with age.

                  3B: Kang…when will he return?

                  SS: Mercer…2014 or 2015 version?

                  LF: Marte…solid and getting better.

                  CF: Cutch…he’s peaked.

                  RF: Polanco…should improve.

                  SP: Cole…should improve.

                  SP: Liriano…he’s peaked.

                  SP: Morton/Locke: two #5’s competing for the 3/4 slots?

                  • Your outlook makes a glass half empty guy look like the eternal optimist. Cardinals floor is higher than Pirates ceiling?!!! The Cards best players are either old (Molina, Peralta), or old and injured ( Waino, Holliday), or just injured (Martinez, Lynn, Wacha). Their floor could look like the Disney version of Tower of Terror!

    • Interesting point. Marlins come to mind here. Phillies and Astros made some deals together in a short period. Big ones. I wonder if it happens because of mutual respect, former employees. Anyone?

      • I feel GMs build relationships. From my understanding, there are more than a few GMs that think Neil is a little out there in overvaluing his assets. They listen to his requests but don’t feel he is truly interested in making realistic trades. My guess is the ones he often trades with have built a certain level of trust that he is not wasting their time.

        • Yet over the past year NH has made trades with the Yankees, Tigers, Royals, Mariners, Orioles, Rays, A’s, Dbacks, Phillies, Marlins – and whoever else I’m missing, and not to mention that countless deals that were discussed with other teams. Every GM asks for the moon at first, and then gradually negotiates to a trade that is mutually comfortable for both parties. It’d be silly to not do. Otherwise, who knows what a desperate GM may agree to.

        • One possibility about building relationships – Dan Duquette, Executive VP of Baseball Ops for the Orioles, and NH are both former VG ballplayers and graduates of Amherst College and share that background. Ben Cherington, former GM of Boston, was another Amherst Grad. And, I think all three worked together at various times over the years, and are close friends.

          • Also forgot to mention that “the Duke” e-mailed Peter Gammons recently to gather his support for getting NH recognized as the Baseball Executive of the Year in the Sporting News.

  5. Would keep him pretty close to home, it would be a short drive back to Pittsburgh. It would be a soft landing spot for him I think. Question is I wonder what the asking price was…

  6. I would think a move to the AL might be real good for Walker and extend his career for a number of years. (then again, I am no expert at this). What do you think a high price would be?

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