*The deadline for teams to exchange arbitration figures with arbitration eligible players is today at 1:00 PM EST. Teams and arbitration eligible players can still negotiate up to the arbitration hearing to try and strike a deal. However, for the Pirates, today’s 1:00 deadline might as well be the deadline for negotiations.

Over the past few years, the Pirates have been one of the “file and trial” clubs in baseball. What this means is that once the team and the player exchange their figures tomorrow, the Pirates will go to arbitration and argue for their figure. The goal prior to the deadline will be to avoid arbitration by reaching a deal.

It’s hard to say the impact of the “file and trial” approach, but some of the theories are that it can put pressure on the players to submit a figure that is more likely to be accepted, rather than aiming high and hoping to negotiate further to the midpoint of the two exchanged figures. It can also influence negotiations earlier, rather than waiting until after tomorrow’s exchange deadline to get serious.

The Pirates have gone to arbitration in recent years, most recently in 2015 with Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, and Vance Worley. They won their case against Neil Walker ($8 M vs $9 M), but lost to Pedro Alvarez ($5.75 M vs $5.25 M) and Vance Worley ($2.45 M vs $2 M). As you can see, they go to trial, even if the figure is less than half a million.

That doesn’t mean they go to trial every year. They avoided arbitration with all of their players in 2016. So far this year, they’ve avoided arbitration with all but four of their players (at the time of this writing). Here are the remaining players and their expected arbitration figures:

Tony Watson – $5.9 M

Juan Nicasio – $4.6 M

Gerrit Cole – $4.2 M

Jordy Mercer – $4 M

We saw some deals go down already, with Drew Hutchison ($2.3 M) and Jared Hughes ($2.825 M) avoiding arbitration. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more moves take place before the deadline. The one player who might be a risk to go to arbitration would be Cole, since he is represented by Scott Boras, which doesn’t usually lead to easy negotiations.

We’ll have updates throughout the day, along with live coverage from the final day of mini camp. Speaking of which, here are some videos from today’s practice:

VIDEO: Josh Bell throwing drills #Pirates

A post shared by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

VIDEO: Kevin Newman batting practice #Pirates

A post shared by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

VIDEO: Barrett Barnes taking batting practice #Pirates

A post shared by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

VIDEO: Erich Weiss taking batting practice #Pirates

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VIDEO: Another look at Kevin Newman #Pirates

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**I was planning on an Elias Diaz article today, but had a follow-up question I needed to ask, and then spent most of my time today getting videos and interviews for articles next week. So expect the Diaz article tomorrow or Saturday, depending on how much news comes out tomorrow. And expect more videos tomorrow as I hope there will be some bullpen sessions to cover.

**Pirates Avoid Arbitration with Drew Hutchison and Jared Hughes. Two down and four to go.

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  1. I’m certainly not a scout, but Newman’s swing looks compact and very balanced. Looks like a line drive machine to me.

    • Very quiet, relaxed, quick hands, back and balanced, excellent footwork, and uses the whole field. I’m thinking Jay Bell when watching this kid, and the Pirates will gain 6 spots in the order – from Mercer’s No. 8 to the No. 2 slot for this kid.

      Brings up another thought. Mercer is able to play all 4 IF positions, and the 2/$11 mil contract of David Freese is club friendly – possibility for a trade between now and mid-year?

      • Barrett Barnes looks very good – still amazed that teams that are in need of OF depth did not pick this kid in the Rule 5 Draft.

        Also, is it not strange that just about every player at AA had an excellent year with the bat? Meadows, Newman, Ramirez, Osuna and career years from Barrett Barnes, Eric Wood, and Erich Weiss. Compliments to Kevin Riggs, Hitting Coach at Altoona. I hope the Pirates do not let him get away. We recognized Cora and Meccage with promotions, but not Riggs?

        And, on Arbitration. NH managed to piss off our No. 1 guy in the Rotation last year. I have seen projections around $4.2 mil – maybe we can pay Cole more than the projections? That 12.7 which is the total WAR he has provided according to fangraphs will get a lot of play in Arbitration. We have ZERO chance to extend this kid, so why not send him out of the room with a smile on his face?

        • Then that smile will be even greater next year, since that raise will be based on this years’ salary. But I do agree, not just Cole, but all of them. It seems that Hughes and Hutch received more than predicted.

          • They start out very conservatively in the 1st year of Arb, and then ratchet it up for a 1/2 SP in the 2nd year – take a look at Arrieta for 2015 & 2016.

            We gave away thousands last year to SRod and RV allowing them to make incentives, so why not throw a little carrot out at the beginning of the year? If we give Cole $4.2 mil and he has an exc year, he will be getting $10.0 to $10.5 after 2017. If we give him $5 mil, and he has an exc year, we may have to get all the way up to $10.5 to $11 mil after 2017. Would it be worth it?

        • Happy too when he quits throwing 100 pitches in five innings – otherwise I am suing him for part of his signing bonus. MLBTR did pretty thorough write up on his arbitration. Bottom line is platform years matter and his sucked.

    • I agree for sure. There isn’t a lot of unnecessary movement in his swing and diagonal view in the last video shows incredible head control. Minimizing head movement allows you to greatly improve contact ability.

    • “Couple years ago I was hitting .170 after a couple at bats and everyone was ready to kill me, too. What happened?”

      “Laser show.”

      Pedroia’s quote was made for Newman. Lasers, man.

  2. Off topic, but there’s an excellent article over at Grantland by Dan McLaughlin on how the DH affects the economics of baseball. Hint: It disadvantages small market teams. “Surprise” quote: Owners seem to have higher priorities in their zero sum negotiations with the Union than fixing structural problems for the greater good of the game.” I’ll try to post a link: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/designated-hitters-and-the-economics-of-baseball/. McLaughlin also blogs at Baseball Crank.

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