According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have reached out to Ian Snell's agent about a long-term deal. Snell's salary will increase drastically in 2009 as he reaches arbitration. For that reason, I've wondered whether he might be next offseason's available young ace. Jamie Shields' deal could serve as a guide if the Bucs just want to buy out Snell's three arb years from 2009-11. Shields gave up his arb years for $13.75MM, though the last of those involves a club option. $13-14MM (not necessarily guaranteed) seems to be the going rate for a young pitcher's arb years, looking at Shields, Chris Young, and Matt Cain.
Additionally, the Bucs are talking to first baseman Adam LaRoche about an extension. LaRoche is set to reach free agency after the '09 season. I was surprised to see that LaRoche's career numbers aren't much different from Justin Morneau's (granted Morneau has played in the tougher league and has an MVP trophy). Morneau recently gave up four free agent years at $14MM a pop; LaRoche should ask for at least $10MM per year for 2010 and beyond. Looking at Morneau's contract reminds me that he is far from a bargain.
Finally, Kovacevic says talks with Matt Capps have "fizzled" because Manny Corpas' deal raised the bar. That's odd, because Corpas has a team-friendly contract. He gets $12.25MM over his arb years, with the last of those a club option. Then the Rockies have a club option on Corpas' first potential year of free agency at $8MM.
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