Pirates Agree to Terms With Nine Players; Walker, Alvarez, Worley Headed to Arbitration?

Today at 1:00 PM EST is the deadline for arbitration eligible players and teams to exchange arbitration figures. The Pittsburgh Pirates have 12 players who are eligible for arbitration, and all 12 players officially filed on Tuesday. The Pirates will exchange figures with those 12 players today, or the two sides will come to an agreement prior to the exchange.

In most cases, the Pirates try to work out a deal with the players before the exchange of figures. Last year there were a few deals announced before 1:00 PM, and every other deal was announced between 1-2 PM, with no arbitration eligible players left un-signed. The Pirates have been described as a “file and trial” team, which means that if the two sides can’t reach a deal prior to exchanging figures, then you can bet they will be going to arbitration.

This means there will be a lot of transactions today. I’m guessing the Pirates will want to avoid arbitration with as many players as possible, so expect a lot of deals to be announced this afternoon. We’ll keep track of them all in this post as they are announced. For anyone who doesn’t reach a deal, the exchanged figures will probably be released later today, and will go up in another post. For a projection of what each player is expected to receive in arbitration, check out the 2015 payroll page.

Check back for all of the updates.

UPDATE 10:49 AM: The Pirates settled with Chris Stewart for $1.225 M, according to Jon Heyman.

Stewart’s projected amount was $1.3 M.

UPDATE 12:40 PM: Heyman says that Antonio Bastardo settled for $3.1 M.

The estimated amount was $2.8 M, so that’s a bit of an increase over the projections.

UPDATE 12:50 PM: Ken Rosenthal says that the Pirates have agreed with Francisco Cervelli for $987,500.

Cervelli was projected to receive $1.1 M. That puts the catching combo of Stewart and Cervelli at around $2.2 M total. When you consider their strong pitch framing will probably combine for at least two wins, then their framing alone will be worth at least 5-6 times their combined contracts.

UPDATE 1:00 PM: We’ve now reached the deadline for players and teams to exchange figures. However, this doesn’t mean there won’t be more deals coming in. Last year there were about four deals that were announced after 1:00 PM. I’m guessing the next hour will be busy, as there are still nine players we haven’t heard about.

UPDATE 1:06 PM: The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Jared Hughes, per Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Hughes receives $1.075 M, which was close to his expected $1.1 M.

UPDATE 1:11 PM: Here are the guys we’re still waiting on, and their estimated salaries

Neil Walker – $8.6 M

Mark Melancon $5.6 M

Pedro Alvarez – $5.5 M

Vance Worley – $2.9 M

Josh Harrison – $2.2 M

Sean Rodriguez – $2 M

Travis Snider – $2 M

Tony Watson – $2 M

Melancon is an interesting case because the MLBTR estimates had him above $7 M due to the fact that he had a lot of saves and holds in the same season. His figure above reflects their follow-up estimation after a closer look at his situation.

UPDATE 1:20 PM: Josh Harrison receives $2.8 M, per Heyman.

That’s the biggest difference so far, with Harrison receiving $600,000 more than his projection.

UPDATE 1:47 PM: It looks like Neil Walker didn’t settle with the Pirates, per Rob Biertempfel.

Walker is projected to receive $8.6 M. As noted above, this likely means that the Pirates will take him to arbitration, since they don’t usually negotiate after today’s deadline.

UPDATE 2:45 PM: Bill Brink says that the Pirates have settled with Mark Melancon for $5.4 M.

That’s much less than the original MLBTR projections of $7.6 M, which seemed to give credit to Melancon for being two different types of pitchers. It’s also less than the updated estimate, by about $200,000. I’m pretty sure this figure makes Melancon the highest paid closer in a single season in Pirates’ history.

UPDATE 4:18 PM: Rob Biertempfel reports that Travis Snider has agreed for $2.1 M.

That’s just $100,000 above what he was projected to receive. The Pirates are projected to have at least three bench players making $2 M or more, and Snider is one of them. Corey Hart is already signed for $2.5 M. Sean Rodriguez is the only one up in the air, as he is projected to receive $2 M. We haven’t heard whether he has settled yet.

UPDATE 4:42 PM: I’m not familiar with Mike Perchick, but he’s reporting that Sean Rodriguez ($1.9 M) and Tony Watson ($1.75 M) have agreed to terms. Perchick was first on the Snider news as well, and is credited by Jon Heyman as being first on several other deals around the league. Based on his accuracy, I’m assuming these are legit. Here are the tweets.



Obviously that’s the Pirates, and not the Padres, for Rodriguez. Both of these players were expected to receive $2 M. This means that we’re just waiting on word about Pedro Alvarez and Vance Worley, not to mention an update on Neil Walker.

UPDATE 4:47 PM: The Pirates have officially announced that they’ve agreed to terms with all nine players mentioned above. That leaves Walker, Alvarez, and Worley without deals, and likely heading to arbitration. The Pirates have most likely already exchanged figures with each player. Those figures will probably come out later today.

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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Personally, I think that the Pirates and Walker/Alvarez are soon to be parting ways. I thought they (the Pirates) overpaid Walker in arbitration last year, and it appears he is pushing for even more of a jump this year then the FO is comfortable with. I also think a lot of the preseason moves were done with the expectation that these two will be trade bait this year.

Worley I don’t understand at all. He isn’t a lock right now for the starting rotation, and it looks like (I can’t believe I am saying this!) that the FO made fair and reasonable offers to all, so it would appear Worley has an overblown idea of where he fits into the grand scheme of things as well as Walker/Alvarez.

Lukas Sutton

Walker has established himself as a 2+ WAR player, so while it does seem like he is getting pricey he actually still brings great value for the money being paid. If he gets near 3 WAR again he will be well worth 9 million.

Also, if Worley isnt a lock for the starting rotation idk what happened, because even if you assume Morton is healthy you have Liriano-Cole-Morton-AJ-empty space. Choices for the empty space are Locke, Cumpton, Worley in the most likely scenario. Worley wins that list.


For Worley, we’ve already seen the line between quality #4 /#5 starter and AAA filler is extremely thin. Just doesn’t have the stuff to miss bats.
If Cervelli/Stewart can’t steal as many strikes, or if Worley’s mechanics back up even a little bit, he’s essentially throwing BP.

Lukas Sutton

Which really isnt that different than Cumpton, both pitch to contact and have no “overpowering” pitch. Locke would be my first choice, but his issue is his lack of attacking hitters at times. Worley, even with his faults, has at least earned that spot. I also dont think Worley relies nearly as much on “stealing strikes” as Locke does, so possibly having a catcher that doesnt steal a strike would lead me to want Worley as Locke already depended on Martin and a strike zone that was forgiving. Good depth problems to have, as i think any of these 3 could be a serviceable 5th man.


No pitcher in baseball last year got more called strikes than Vance Worley. He absolutely relies on framing more than any other Pirate pitcher.

I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the marginal difference between a lesser version of Vance Worley and Cumpton/Locke, which is why I’m not limiting the team to those options.

The Pirates are at the peak of the win curve, have payroll flexibility, and enough prospects to get whatever they want without “mortgaging the future”. A lesser version of Worley/Cumpton/Locke are fine depth starters to have as your #6 /#7 guys, but I absolutely believe it would be a mistake to stretch any of those options along for an entire year if they aren’t at least average starters.

Lukas Sutton

Well yeah, if any of the #5 guys isnt an average option after a month its fair to look elsewhere. I dont see Worley sliding enough to be below average. Particularly because he throws strikes, as opposed to a Locke type hitting corners. With Worley i worry more about throwing too center than him missing the zone. Where as Locke is a 2 walk and a double guy.


Easily has to be most expensive bullpen and bench in Pirate history.


In 2010 the opening day salary was: 34,943,000. The bench and bullpen is almost making more than the 2010 team


The Pirates might not negotiate after today, but that does not mean the player can’t show up tomorrow and say that they want the offer the Pirates made them, the players and the Pirates can still avoid an arbitration hearing, or the Pirates could trade any or all of them, highly unlikely of course, but the options are there.

Bill Harvey

Looks like the arbitration system will be full of Pirates players this time around. It will be interesting to see the numbers when they become public.

dr dng

I am taking Alvarez as the most likely not to come to agreement today, but on the other hand, with the Pirates opening up the pocket book pretty wide for Kang, I could see a few others (such as Walker) going “what about me?” I think this could be interesting.
Yes, I realize that they use comparable numbers to other players and salaries, but I also know about egos and with Kang getting 5 million without his first hit for the Pirates, I could see a few egos being a little bruised.


if Walker gets all butt-hurt about it, he needs to take it up with the players’ association, not the Pirates.

If Kang is hitting PH dingers and winning games, i’m sure Walker doesn’t care if Kang is making 1,5, or 10 million.

John Dreker

The problem with that thinking is that if the case go to trial, they then have to prove they are worth whatever high price they ask for and that almost never works out well for the player. You have to keep your arbitration number realistic and the Pirates do that with their offer, so the player has to come back with a realistic offer too, otherwise they are just wasting their own time


Kang did not get 5mil, more like 3mil.


Because of the way the Pirates value relievers and the wide discrepancy in estimates of salary, I see Melancon as the most likely candidate to go to an arbitration hearing.

I could also see Pedro going since he is represented by Boras and the Pirates don’t seem to have much interest in preserving a relationship with him for a potential contract extension.

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