Today is the deadline for Major League teams and players to exchange arbitration figures. The Pittsburgh Pirates have four players who are eligible for salary arbitration this year. Gerrit Cole, Felipe Rivero, Jordy Mercer and George Kontos could all come to an agreement on a deal for 2018 before the deadline. If they don’t, then the players and team will exchange salary figures. Once the deadline passes and figures have been exchanged, the two sides will head to an arbitration hearing.
Here are the projected arbitration prices according to MLB Trade Rumors:
Jordy Mercer – $6,500,000
Gerrit Cole – $7,500,000
Felipe Rivero – $3,100,000
George Kontos – $2,700,000
Mercer is in his third and final year of arbitration, while Cole and Kontos are second-year players, and Rivero is first-time eligible.
We will post updates in this article as the players settle on contracts today. In the past two years, the Pirates have settled on deals with everyone before the deadline except Tony Watson, who ended up losing his case last year. There is a 1 PM deadline to reach an agreement today. I’ll note that the deadline could pass without us hearing anything right away, as some of the news is slow to get out. We should know for sure on all four players before 2 PM.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of many “file and trial” teams, meaning once the deadline passes, they will no longer negotiate with the player and the two sides will go to an arbitration hearing. If there ends up be a hearing (or hearings), they will be scheduled sometime between January 29th and February 16th.
If the two sides go to a hearing, the arbitration panel will then decide which side submitted a salary figure closest to their value and that side will get the figure they submitted. For example, if the Pirates thought Rivero was worth $3 M, and he asked for $3.5 M, the arbitrators could decide he’s worth $3.3 M and he would still end up getting the $3.5 M he submitted because it’s the closer number. We will know the submitted figures for each side today if any players don’t come to an agreement before the deadline.
Check back for updates. We will change the title each time the article is updated.
UPDATE 12:37 PM: Robert Murray is reporting that the Pirates and Jordy Mercer settled for $6.75 M. That’s slightly higher than the MLBTR estimate and a nice increase over the $4.325 M that Mercer made in 2017.
1:05 PM: Multiple sources are reporting that Gerrit Cole and the Pirates agreed to a $6.75 M deal as well. That’s $750,000 below the MLBTR estimate, but still $3 M more than his $3.75 M salary in 2017.
3:40 PM: Bill Brink has the numbers for George Kontos, while we still wait to hear what happened with Felipe Rivero. Kontos got $2,725,000, which is just $25,000 over the MLBTR estimate and $975,000 more than his 2017 salary.
6:25 PM: Took awhile, but Felipe Rivero and the Pirates will go to an arbitration hearing. Pirates filed at $2.4 M and Rivero is at $2.9 M according to Jon Heyman. A hearing will be scheduled sometime in the near future.