8:38pm: McDonald will earn $3.025MM while Walker's deal is worth $3.3MM, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter link).
5:58pm: The Pirates have agreed to new contracts with right-hander James McDonald and second baseman Neil Walker, avoiding arbitration with the two players, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports (Twitter link). Both players were arb-eligible for the first time and are both are represented by Hendricks Sports.
McDonald, 28, held a 2.37 ERA through his first 17 starts in 2012 but a 7.52 ERA in his 13 outings and was even sent to the bullpen by season's end. Since coming to the Pirates from the Dodgers in July 2010, McDonald has a 4.10 ERA, 2.07 K/BB ratio and a 7.8 K/9 rate in 72 games, all but one a start. McDonald was looking for a $3.4MM salary while the Bucs countered with a $2.65MM offer.
Walker's contract will pay him in the neighborhood of $3.25MM in 2013, as Singer reports (Twitter link) that Walker will get around $300K more than what other arb-eligible second baseman like Daniel Murphy, Gordon Beckham and Ryan Roberts received from their teams. Walker wanted a $3.6MM deal while the Pirates offered him a $3MM contract, so he should end up with around the midpoint between the two figures.
Like McDonald, Walker also had a roller-coaster of a season, posting a .648 OPS through May, then a .933 OPS over his next 52 games that included a whopping 1.097 OPS in July. The Pittsburgh native fell off again down the stretch, due in part to a herniated disc in his back. The Pirates discussed a long-term extension with Walker last offseason and could revisit the subject during Spring Training. Walker, 27, has three more arb-eligible years left as a Super Two player.
As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, the Pirates have now come to terms with all of their arbitration-eligible players.