Arbitration Eligibles: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Hanrahan remains an asset for the Pirates, though this year's return to a big-time strikeout rate came with the unwanted side effects of a high walk rate and a lot of flyballs.  On the surface, the Bucs have a guy who's converted 76 of 84 save opportunities the last two years with a 2.24 ERA and two All-Star game appearances.  Hanrahan will be entering his walk year.  With draft pick compensation for relievers mostly a thing of the past, GM Neal Huntington has to decide whether to trade Hanrahan or extend him in the neighborhood of $10MM per free agent year.

Elsewhere in the bullpen there's Resop, who added groundballs this year at the expense of strikeouts.  The 29-year-old is hittable yet serviceable, and he's not terribly expensive.

The Pirates have three arbitration eligible starting pitchers.  McDonald's ERA sat at 2.37 after a July 7th win; through 110 innings it seemed as if he'd turned a corner.  He was brutal over his next 13 outings, with a 7.52 ERA in 61 frames.  It was an odd season, but McDonald is expected to begin next year back in the Pirates' rotation.  Now is not the time to consider trading or extending him.

Morton had hip surgery a year ago, but was able to make his season debut in mid-April.  He lasted only nine starts before succumbing to Tommy John surgery.  He has to be considered a non-tender candidate, as otherwise the Pirates would have to pay him a projected $2.6MM in 2012 to pitch at most three and a half months.  Huntington must decide the value of the chance to control Morton for the 2014 season.  The GM was noncommittal on the subject of Karstens, who had an injury-shortened 2012 as well.  Since Karstens finished the season healthy, he might be on firmer ground than Morton.

Jones needs a platoon partner, but he did hit .289/.332/.556 with 25 home runs in 434 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.  I think he's safe, though this could be the last raise the Pirates are willing to give him.  Walker had another nice year, and the Pirates have flirted with extending the Pittsburgh native before.  In March, I suggested five years and $27MM for the Super Two second baseman.

The Pirates acquired Sanchez from the Marlins at the July trade deadline.  The 29-year-old was better for the Bucs, but still fell well short of the production of a typical starting first baseman.  There's a decent chance he's non-tendered.

If only Hanrahan, Jones, Karstens, McDonald, Walker, and Resop are retained, the Pirates would be looking at an estimated $22.3MM for six arbitration eligible players.       

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors.  To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.

41 Responses to Arbitration Eligibles: Pittsburgh Pirates Leave a Reply

  1. The Bucs should trade Hanrahan and make Hughes the closer.

    • Let_My_Cameron_Go 3 years ago

      Hughes was awful in high pressure situations…

      • vtadave 3 years ago

        Really? With RISP, hitters batted .200 against him. With runners on base, .203. I don’t know if he’d be “the guy”, but the Pirates should absolutely explore dealing Hanrahan.

      • Only a few times when the season was already over. During the part of the season when we had a chance, he was outstanding in situations when he had to pitch under pressure.

    • bigpat 3 years ago

      Let’s have an inconsistent prospect with no out pitch at all pitch in the 9th inning, skipping the 8th altogether, seems legit.

    • derekbellstutu 3 years ago

      If the Bucs deal Hanrahan this offseason, the Pirates should try to re-sign Grilli and make him the closer. Jared Hughes or Bryan Morris can take over as the 8th inning guy until Morris or Vic Black is ready to close.

  2. shakeweight22 3 years ago

    highly doubt that huntington gave up a compensation pick to bring in sanchez just to non-tender him that offseason. seems like an idiotic waste of a top ~35 pick to me. im sure sanchez will start the season platooning first base with jones/ pinch hitting LHP and coming in as a defensive replacement for jones later in games.

    • $1574266 3 years ago

      It was a waste to begin with. I’ll never understand how the Pirates were contending and thought it was a good idea to trade for a 1B hitting 200 who couldn’t even stick with Miami’s terrible team.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        You can’t look at it just like that. Pirates were getting nothing out of 1b at all and they had a chance to get someone who for 2 years in a row previously had put up good offensive numbers in a terrible offensive park. The season was only half over at the time of the trade and Huntington was thinking he had a chance to get a good one,

        • $1574266 3 years ago

          Garrett Jones says hello

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            Put it like this.. If the Pirates non tender him? I’d take him in a heart beat over James “looney” Loney and his lethargic bat and Loney will in all likelihood end up swindling some poor team out of 3-4m as a FA this off season and still put up worse numbers in 2013 than Gaby.

            Sanchez is one of those RH hitters who has the perfect Fenway swing.

      • bigpat 3 years ago

        Agreed. Why a general manager on a team who hasn’t won in 19 years would rather trade for lottery tickets instead of proven commodities at the deadline is baffling to me. Huntington is really wearing on me with his silly “I’m smarter than everyone else” attitude.

        They better make some noise in the offseason after increased success and fan support . I would also not be opposed to them trading Hanrahan as long as they can keep Grilli and sign someone like Broxton or Soria to take his place. I would think about offering him for Andrew Miller and Salty and see what they think about that.

        • Todd Smith 3 years ago

          A proven commodity…like who? Hunter Pence? Shane Victorino?

          Pence hit .219 with a .671 OPS after the deadline. Victorino hit .245 with a .667 OPS after the deadline. Gaby Sanchez hit .241 with a .720 OPS after the deadline. If Gaby Sanchez was owed $14MM next year, would you like him better?

          • goner 3 years ago

            Your post-deadline comparison of Pence, Victorino, and Sanchez is irrelevant, as they did not face the exact same opposing pitchers after the deadline. We’ll simply never know exactly how any of those three players would have fared if they were traded to different teams.

            But even if we did, you would still have to account for the fact that players were used in different roles. For example, after the trade Sanchez initially started only against LH pitchers; his average fell in September when he received more starts vs. RH pitchers.

          • bigpat 3 years ago

            I would have traded for Soriano or Choo. Chicago was practically giving away a 30 HR bat. Plugging him and his massive power into the lineup instead of Snider/Tabata would have been an enormous upgrade, and even if he falls off a cliff in a season or two, the Cubs would have picked up most of the tab anyways. I’m not a huge fan of Marte but Marte/Walker/Cutch/Sori/Jones/Alvarez would have been an explosive lineup. Also Choo was an incredible leadoff hitter and I think trading away Marte and another quality prospect for him would have been worth the risk as he is as steady as it gets.

            Also, other than the Scutaro and Anibal Sanchez deals, a lot of teams seemed to do very well by simply doing nothing at the deadline. Ruining chemistry just to tinker with the lineup and make small upgrades is not worth it. And the fact that they believed Qualls was still a ML quality pitcher, let alone a guy capable of replacing an absolute lights-out reliever, is pure lunacy.

          • goner 3 years ago

            IIRC, Soriano vetoed a trade to Pittsburgh, because he has extensive family in Chicago.

            I completely agree about Qualls, though.

          • bigpat 3 years ago

            I knew he vetoed a trade to San Fran but didn’t know about Pittsburgh.

      • Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

        Sanchez was an upgrade over Casey McGhee. The way you have to look at it is here was a player 2 years removed from being a young promising 1st basemen who was undervalued at the deadline. The Pirates were right to take a chance on him and gave up a replaceable outfielder and a supplemental pick in next year’s draft, which is not very deep in talent.

  3. Jim McGrath 3 years ago

    What do you suppose the Pirates would be looking for for Hanrahan if traded to the Red Sox? or James McDonald?? Lester, Ellsbury, Bailey, Miller, Morales, Middlebrooks…any of those names of interest. You name some…

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      Johnsilver will be right with you………..

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      Makes little sense to swap Hanrahan for Bailey, and certainly Hanrahan woudln’t be the centerpiece to any Middlebrooks, Lester, or Ellsbury deal. I’m sure the Pirates would love to get their hands on Miller, but makes little sense for the Red Sox to give him up. Morales? He would be of interest, but the Pirates would probably be better off dealing Hanrahan for a prospect or two.

    • derekbellstutu 3 years ago

      Pirates and Red Sox are not a match in regards to Hanrahan. I’d be surprised if the Red Sox would give up on Bailey as closer after one season. Bailey’s value is very low after this past season and the Sox would be smart to hang on to him to build up his worth. Same goes w/ Lester and Ellsbury. Until his injury, Middlebrooks was putting up Pujols-like stats, so they won’t be looking to deal him. Miller is not enough straight up for Hanrahan & I think Boston is gonna be patient w/ Morales to see what they have in him. I just don’t see the Red Sox getting rid of any of the players you listed.

    • Devern Hansack 3 years ago

      As other posters have said, Hanrahan isn’t really a fit for Boston. I also don’t feel as though the Pirates would deal McDonald, as they seem primed to contend next season. It’d just be creating a ~1.5 WAR-sized hole in their rotation.

    • Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

      I think the Angels have a better farm system and will definitely be in the market for a closer this winter.

  4. Defiancy 3 years ago

    Chris Resop once played an inning of LF for the Braves during the 2008 campaign.

  5. derekbellstutu 3 years ago

    The Pirates and Tigers might match up well in a Hanrahan deal. Jose Valverde is a free agent after the World Series and I can’t see Detroit bringing him back next year after the way he’s been pitching lately (Just saw Miggy go big-fly on Valverde in a BP/sim game setting @ Comerica). If the Tigers re-sign Anibal Sanchez, they’ll have a starting pitcher (Porcello or Smyly) available as a centerpiece in a deal for Hanrahan.

    • $1574266 3 years ago

      How about V Mart for Hanrahan?

      • pirateswillwinin2013 3 years ago

        Porcello, Avilla, and low level prospect would work for me

      • derekbellstutu 3 years ago

        As much as I love V-Mart, he’s too spendy for the Bucs. V-Mart is owed $13M for 2013 and $12M for 2014 and coming off a lost season due to injury, Too much risk for the Pirates to take on.

        • Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

          Needless to say he’s an awful defensive liability at C/1B.

          • $5822868 3 years ago

            Something the Bucs like, defensive liabilities.

          • bigpat 3 years ago

            No one is a bigger liability than Rod Barajas.

      • Smrtbusnisman04 3 years ago

        V Mart is a DH at this point in his career. It would be a terrible move for the Pirates. I would ask for Rick Porcello and a mid level prospect like OF Tyler Collins.

      • $5822868 3 years ago

        The Bucs would make that because they are the Bucs.

  6. pirateswillwinin2013 3 years ago

    No way Sanchez is non-tendered

  7. I fully exspect Hanrahan to get moved. we need a ss who can lead of and another starter this off season. I would see if freddy sanchez can pass a physical and have him compete for utility job of the bench. Bryan willson, Soria type to compete for the closers role. One thing I trust Neil in the most is building a quality Pen.
    I would also see what it would take to get draundo( sp) catching prospect from Tornto consider a ss swap and take a flyer on lind for Garret jones

  8. Burnet

  9. marcorincon 3 years ago

    Move the Hammer over the winter. His trade value is only going to get worse in all likelihood. The Angels really need to upgrade their pen so I’d look there for sure. I only wish the Bucs still had Jeff Lincoln. If he were still a Pirate I’d have given him a shot at the closer role. Maybe he caught magic in a bottle for only a short spell last season but Jeff sure looked good in late June/July before he was moved to Toronto.

  10. Chris Vinnit 3 years ago

    Hanrahan traded, Karstens and Morton non-tendered, rest tendered is how I see this playing out.

    Bucs need corner OF who can either lead off (high OBP) or 1B/C who can just hit. They aren’t looking for a SS with Barmes still on the books so forget that. I could also see trading for a veteran SP to round out the rotation.

    I swear if Huntington trades for one more busted top 10 prospect from 2009, I will kick his dog.

    • goner 3 years ago

      If by ‘dog’ you mean ‘Kyle Stark’, there might be a long line ahead of you.

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