With GM Neal Huntington under contract through at least 2014, the Pirates can focus on the upcoming offseason. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke to Huntington yesterday; here are a few highlights.
- On first baseman Derrek Lee, Huntington said, "We'd like to have him return. It's a two-way street. He's got to walk through some things. Is he going to play next year? Does he want to play in Pittsburgh next year or does he have a better opportunity to do something different?" Lee, 36, hit .341/.390/.604 in 100 plate appearances for the Pirates since coming over in a July trade with Baltimore. If Lee confers with his family and decides to play in 2012, he'll likely be looking at a one-year deal below the $7.25MM base salary he earned this year.
- Huntington said the odds of the Pirates needing only six starters again in 2012 are slim, implying that the team will look to add rotation depth.
- Trades will be considered; despite their rebuilding process Huntington said the Pirates have prospects about which they're willing to talk.
- The Pirates have drawn 4,337 more fans per game compared to last year, an increase of almost 22%. The increased revenue will lead to a bigger payroll, but much of the increase will go toward arbitration raises. The Pirates' 11 arbitration eligible players are Evan Meek, Garrett Jones, Charlie Morton, Chris Resop, Steven Pearce, Brandon Wood, Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Jose Veras, and Jason Grilli. We'll have estimated salaries and non-tender predictions for you later this week in our arbitration eligibles series. The Bucs opened the season with just a $42MM payroll.