Pirates Avoid Arbitration with All Eight Eligible Players

Today is the deadline for teams and players to submit arbitration figures. We’ll be hearing news on the contract status of eight players on the Pirates’ roster who are arbitration eligible. Here are those arbitration eligible players and their estimated 2020 salaries through arbitration:

Josh Bell – $5,900,000

Joe Musgrove – $3,400,000

Keone Kela – $3,400,000

Adam Frazier – $3,200,000

Trevor Williams – $3,000,000

Jameson Taillon – $2,300,000

Chad Kuhl – $1,400,000

Michael Feliz – $1,200,000

The Pirates can work out deals with any of these guys before today’s deadline for the 2020 season, or beyond.

If no deal is reached, both sides submit their salary figure for the player for 2020. They would have a hearing in February to argue why their submitted figure is correct. An arbitration panel will choose between the figure the team submitted and the figure the player submitted, at which point the player receives that salary for 2020.

Teams can reach deals with players up to the hearing, even if no deal is reached today. Under Neal Huntington, the Pirates were a “file and trial” team. That meant if they filed today under Huntington, there would be no more discussions about the 2020 salary, and the Pirates would wait for the arbitration hearing.

We don’t know if Ben Cherington will operate in the same manner. The Blue Jays were also a file and trial team, so Cherington could bring that approach to the Pirates. This doesn’t make a huge difference for anyone following along. It just allows us to know what to expect between today and the arbitration hearings.

We’ll update this post with news from today’s figure exchanges.

UPDATE: Jameson Taillon will receive $2.25M to rehab from his second Tommy John surgery this year. Fun fact: MLB players on rehab still get their MLB per diem when the big league club goes on the road, even if they’re sitting at Pirate City.

UPDATE #2: Chad Kuhl gets $840,000 according to Adam Berry. That’s quite a large difference from his projected salary of $1.4 M.

UPDATE #3: Josh Bell receives $4.8 M, another one well off the estimated price. Five more to go.

UPDATE #4: Michael Feliz gets $1.1 M, slightly under his projected number. Halfway home, waiting on Kela, Frazier, Musgrove and Williams.

UPDATE #5: A familiar theme, as Trevor Williams agrees to a slightly under projection figure of $2.825M. Three more to go. The deadline has passed, but it takes time for all of the news to come in.

UPDATE #6:  Joe Musgrove reportedly came to agreement for $2.8M.  That’s $600K below the projection.

UPDATE #7: Keona Kela is the first to get more than the projections. He will receive $3,725,00 in 2020. Adam Frazier is the only one we are waiting on now.

UPDATE #8: Frazier agreed, but no total has been announced yet. We will update this article if it’s announced. The important news here is that no one will go to an arbitration trial.

FINAL UPDATE: Frazier received $2.8 M, which is $400,000 under the estimate. I also updated the Kela figure, which was initially reported wrong. Seven of the players were under the MLBTR estimate. Kela was the only one over.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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