In my projection of the 40-man roster I’ve included estimates for each of the arbitration eligible players, in order to try and get the estimated 2012 payroll. My method for estimating salaries is simple. I’ll look at the numbers that the players put up, look at comparable players, and go with the salaries for those players. For example, Joel Hanrahan compares very closely to Heath Bell. So in my projection I looked at Bell’s payment in year two of arbitration eligibility ($4 M) and applied the same amount to Hanrahan, who is also in year two of arbitration eligibility.
MLB Trade Rumors and Matt Swartz have come up with a method to project arbitration salaries that is far more advanced than my simple approach. Their method can be explained here, here, and here. They have released all of the estimates for the 2012 season, which can be found here. Let’s take a look at the difference between my original estimates, and what their system projects.
Joel Hanrahan – I had Hanrahan at $4 M. MLBTR also has him at $4 M, so there is no change.
Jeff Karstens – I had Karstens at $3 M. MLBTR has him at $2.8 M, so my projection was high by $200 K.
Garrett Jones – I had Jones at $1.5 M. MLBTR has him at $2.4 M. My projection was low by $900 K.
Ross Ohlendorf – I didn’t have a projection here, as I put Ohlendorf as a non-tender candidate. MLBTR projects $2.1 M. I originally thought it would take $2.5-3 M.
Charlie Morton – I projected $1.7 M. MLBTR projects $2.1 M. My projection was low by $400 K.
Jose Veras – I have him as a non-tender candidate. MLBTR projects $2.5 M. I can’t really see the Pirates giving that amount, especially with all of the bullpen options they have.
Chris Resop – I projected $800 K. MLBTR projected $1.1 M. My projection was low by $300 K. I could still see the Pirates keeping Resop, even with his $1.1 M salary.
Evan Meek – I projected $1 M. MLBTR projects $900 K. My projection was high by $100 K.
Jason Grilli – I projected $750 K. MLBTR projects $800 K. I was low by $50 K.
The estimated payroll with my projections was $28,134,500. With MLBTR’s projections, the estimated payroll is at $29,484,500. The difference isn’t huge, but does add a little over $1 M. That number could jump $2.1 M if the Pirates feel that Ohlendorf should be retained. The biggest difference between the old and new projections comes with Garrett Jones. In their description of the system, home runs and RBIs earn a player more money than any other offensive stat. So it makes sense that Jones would have a higher salary, since he’s hit 58 home runs over the last three years, along with 188 RBIs. His OPS with the Pirates is .782, and he’s been in the .720-.750 range outside of his 2009 season.
I’d be surprised if the Pirates non-tendered him. They knew he would be a Super Two player (he had 1.158 years of service time heading in to the 2011 season), and they had opportunities to deal him away (the Angels wanted him two years in a row). $2.4 M isn’t bad for a bench option with power, who can back up first base and right field.
I added the MLBTR projections to the 40-man roster. None of my tender/non-tender predictions changed.