By Jason Shetler
After going to arbitration with Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Vance Worley last offseason, the Pirates won’t have to go through that process this offseason, as they came to terms with all seven of their arbitration eligible players. Here is a recap of what each player received.
The Pirates made a surprising move right off the bat by extending Chris Stewart to a two-year deal, which includes a club option for 2018. The extension was reported by Robert Murray of Baseball Essential. Stewart’s projected arbitration figure was set at $1.6 million, so the average annual salary of the contract should be somewhere in that neighborhood.
Jeff Locke settled for $3.025 million, which was first reported by FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal. The amount was $475K less than his projected figure.
Jordy Mercer came to terms at $2.075 million. The agreement was first mentioned by Jon Heyman. Mercer’s salary was projected at $1.8 million. Either way, it’s a good amount for an above average defensive shortstop.
Jared Hughes agreed to a figure of $2.175 million, first reported by Ben Nicholson-Smith, formerly of MLB Trade Rumors and now with Sportsnet.ca. The amount was very close to his projected number of $2.2 million. Hughes is one of the best groundball relievers in baseball, posting a 61% groundball rate since 2012.
Francisco Cervelli signed on for $3.5 million, which was a million more than what he was expected to receive. The deal was reported by Jon Heyman. Even with the higher amount, it’s still a very good bargain for a catcher who posted the second best on base percentage in the NL at the position last season.
Tony Watson agreed to sign for $3.45 million, which was first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Watson has emerged as one of the best lefty relievers in the game, and the Pirates got a steal in terms of salary, as he was projected to make $1.25 million more.
The big one of course was Mark Melancon. The Major League saves leader from a year ago was projected to make $10 million. Because of that high salary, it seemed like a possibility that Melancon and the Pirates would head to an arbitration hearing, but the two sides were able to avoid that, agreeing to an amount of $9.65 million. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was the first to report the agreement.