It’s been a while, but we have another deadline!
This Friday, teams and players eligible for arbitration will have to exchange salary figures for 2023, unless they have already agreed upon contracts for this season that is.
At this point, the Pittsburgh Pirates have only come to terms with Miguel Andújar from their pending arbitration class, with five players left to go: JT Brubaker, Ji-Man Choi, Mitch Keller, Robert Stephenson, and Duane Underwood Jr.
For reference, here are the projections for each player, via MLB Trade Rumors:
Choi: $4.5 million
Keller: $2.4 million
Brubaker: $2.0 million
Stephenson: $1.9 million
Underwood Jr.: $1.0 million
Teams and players can still come to agreements between the filing deadline and any scheduled hearings, which are set to begin on January 30th. Of course, like many in baseball now, the Pirates consider themselves a “file and trial” team, meaning they prefer not to come to an agreement—outside of long-term pacts (i.e. Bryan Reynolds)—after they’ve filed their numbers.
A change to the arbitration process this season—likely as part of the new CBA—if teams and players agree to terms outside of a hearing, the salary is guaranteed. This is different from prior years, where arbitration salaries weren’t guaranteed until the season started. That simply means that if Andújar were to not make the final roster, his entire $1,525,000 would be guaranteed, whereas he only would have been guaranteed 30 or 45 days of pay before, depending on when the contract was terminated.
One final aspect of the process that bares mentioning—any player that is reaching arbitration for the first time after the 2022 season and played during the 2020 season, their statistics are to be extrapolated for 2020 as if it was a full season, not the partial one it actually was. For the Pirates, this applies to Brubaker, Keller, and Underwood Jr.
On an individual player level, I’ve personally been intrigued with how the situations of Underwood Jr. and Stephenson are going to play out. Two players who many saw as sure roster causalities going into the offseason, both have staved off the many additions to the roster to this point. Now, with a bullpen that appears, at least at this point, to be quite full and with more moves likely to come, it’s possible that at least one doesn’t make it to Opening Day with the team.
Offseason Calendar Update
As covered above, the filing deadline for arbitration is Friday, January 13th.
Also, this is more in John Dreker’s purview, but it needs mentioned that the 2022-2023 International Signing Period kicks off on Sunday, January 15th.
Pirates Payroll Updates
—After being designated for assignment, Bryse Wilson was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for cash considerations.
I had already outrighted Wilson at one point in my projection, so payroll went down $279,089 after officially striking him from the ledger.
—The Rich Hill signing was made official this week, and Zach Thompson was designated for assignment to make room on the roster,
This struck me as a slight surprise, as I had Thompson on my current projected roster and didn’t foresee him as being in front of the line as far as corresponding roster moves go. I replaced him with Yohan Ramirez, and payroll went down $135,199 as a result.
—For 2023, the payroll estimate stands at $67,867,909 for the Labor Relations Department, while it’s $84,284,576 for CBT purposes.
A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.
Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.
When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.