We thought this could get a bit messy, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have avoided arbitration with second baseman Neil Walker and right-handed pitcher James McDonald. The players and the club worked out deals with each player on one-year contracts the Pirates announced a few moments ago.
We did not receive what the terms of the deals were, but have asked around. [Update 8:30pm Walker 3.3 million, JMac 3.025 million. Six million dollar men!]
It would have been a bit weird to see how the fanbase would react to taking the hometown kid to arbitration, but we think it’s something the Pirates would not have hesitated doing for one moment.
Now taking James McDonald to arbitration would have been really shaky. The righty is a bit of a soft-hearted guy and it certainly wouldn’t have been fun for him to hear all of the negatives of his roller-coaster season.
Walker is 27-years old and put up some solid numbers for the third consecutive seasons. The Pittsburgh kid hit for a .280/.342/.426 line while knocking 14 bombs and posting a 114 OPS+. Walker’s agent had requested $3.6 million and the Pirates had offered $3 million. We think that screams good deal for the club, especially considering how hard Walker is working in preparation for a season in which he missed considerable time as the club struggled.
JMac is 28 years-old and looked like a Cy-Young candidate after 17 starts with 100 strikeouts in 110 innings. But King James struggled after that, posting a final record of 12-8 record and a swelling 4.21 ERA. He was hit hard in his final 61 innings although he struckout 51.
McDonald had filed at $3.4 million in abritration and the ballclub offered $2.65 million.
With that mess out of the way, how long until we play ball? Oh yeh, 21 days and the sun is beating down on my baseball cap! Hit it!