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Friday, December 2, 2022

Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Arbitration Estimates

Matt Swartz at MLBTR has been producing some very accurate arbitration estimates over the last three seasons. His estimates for the Pittsburgh Pirates just came out recently, in an off-season preview that was written by Charlie at Bucs Dugout. Below are the MLBTR arbitration estimates:

  • Gaby Sanchez, 1B (5.025): $2.7MM
  • Neil Walker, 2B (4.166): $8.6MM
  • Ike Davis, 1B (4.155): $4.4MM
  • Mark Melancon, RP (4.098): $7.6MM
  • Travis Snider, OF (4.091): $2MM
  • Chris Stewart, C (4.091): $1.3MM
  • Pedro Alvarez, 3B (4.085): $5.5MM
  • Tony Watson, RP (3.101): $2MM
  • Josh Harrison, 3B (3.033): $2.2MM
  • Jared Hughes, RP (2.162): $1.1MM
  • Vance Worley, SP (2.139): $2.9MM

Charlie notes that Mark Melancon’s projection is way up there due to a combination of saves and holds that might have messed up the projection system. He disagreed with the projection for Melancon, and I do as well. I’ve got Melancon projected for $4 M, and I think he’ll end up around that range. So I’m keeping that projection on the 40-man payroll page. The rest of the projections have been updated with the MLBTR figures.

The 2015 payroll projection has been updated with the new figures. The estimated payroll was $65,452,500 prior to this. The new estimate is $65,574,750. There were a few differences here, but overall they balanced each other out. For example, my projection for Neil Walker was $600,000 low, but my projection for Pedro Alvarez was $500,000 high. As another example, my projection for Josh Harrison was $800,000 high, and Vance Worley was $900,000 low.

I don’t see the Pirates keeping both Davis and Alvarez. Also, Gaby Sanchez could be a non-tender candidate, with the possibility that he could return at a lower price. So the projections would drop at least $4-5 M, and possibly more than that, depending on how the first base situation plays out.

Here is a look back at how accurate the projections have been in previous years (or if you skip over this, know that they’ve been very accurate).


Player (Projection/Actual)

Joel Hanrahan ($4.0/$4.1)

Casey McGehee ($3.1/$2.5375)

Jeff Karstens ($2.8/$3.1)

Garrett Jones ($2.4/$2.25)

Ross Ohlendorf ($2.1/Non-Tendered)

Charlie Morton ($2.1/$2.445)

Jose Veras ($2.5/$2.0 with Milwaukee)

Chris Resop ($1.1/$0.85)

Evan Meek ($0.9/$0.875)

Jason Grilli ($0.8/$1.1)


Player (Projection/Actual)

Joel Hanrahan ($6.9/$7.04)

Jeff Karstens ($3.8/Non-Tendered)

Garrett Jones ($4.4/$4.5)

Charlie Morton ($2.6/$2.0)

Chris Resop ($1.3/$1.35)

James McDonald ($3.0/$3.025)

Neil Walker ($2.9/$3.3)

Gaby Sanchez ($1.8/$1.75)


Player (Projection/Actual)

Garrett Jones ($5.3/Non-Tendered)

Neil Walker ($4.8/$5.75)

Pedro Alvarez ($4.0/$4.25)

Charlie Morton ($3.9/$4.0) *Part of an extension

Mark Melancon ($3.0/$2.595)

Gaby Sanchez  ($2.3/$2.3)

Travis Snider ($1.4/$1.2)

Michael McKenry ($900K/Non-Tendered)

Vin Mazzaro ($800 K/$950 K)

Felix Pie ($500K/Non-Tendered)

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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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This guy is the expert so why aren’t we trusting his $7M for Melancon? Just because we want it to be less. I think Melancon will get $6-7M. He’s one of the best closers in baseball and closers get paid, hence why the relievers still want to close.


All fairly reasonable, except for a slight blip for Melancon. Suggestion – save the $7.1 mil of the Sanchez/Davis combo at 1B, put Neil Walker at 1B, and have he and Pedro swap time there while having JHAY filling in at 2B and 3B when either Walker and/or Alvarez are not in the lineup. I think we benefit from having the possibility that Pedro increases his trade value; we are getting prepared for Alen Hanson to join the team at 2B in June; and have Neil full time at 1B, and JHAY full time at 3B going down the stretch.


Thanks tim.. this may be a dumb request and it doesn’t have to be as detailed.. but if we hypothetically had the same roster in 2017, what would your payroll projection be?

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