Projecting Non-Tender Candidates for the Pittsburgh Pirates

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Sep 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Travis Snider (23) hits a two run single against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the arbitration process looms, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be faced with some difficult choices.

Same as last year.

Likely the same will be true next year.

The list of players up for arbitration after the 2015 MLB season concludes is daunting. From the list (complete with salary projections) over at MLB Trade Rumors:

"Neil Walker (5.166) – $10.7MM Francisco Cervelli (5.146) – $2.5MM Mark Melancon (5.098) – $10.0MM Chris Stewart (5.091) – $1.6MM Pedro Alvarez (5.085) – $8.1MM Travis Snider (5.054) – $2.4MM Travis Ishikawa (5.000) – $1.2MM Tony Watson (4.101) – $4.6MM Jared Hughes (3.162) – $2.2MM Vance Worley (3.112) – $2.7MM Jordy Mercer (3.095) – $1.8MM Jeff Locke (3.020) – $3.5MM"

Now that we’ve seen the gory details, it’s time to make some sense out of these candidates. Today we are going to identify just who the Pirates figure to lose before spring training.

Let’s back up for a moment. To understand arbitration, I can offer you a couple of resources. One is our recent podcast with Matt Swartz, arbitration guru for MLB Trade Rumors. Matt wrote the salary projections you see above and is usually very accurate.

For a more birds-eye view of arbitration, check out this piece from MLB Trade Rumors that explains both the entire process as well as the concept of non-tendering a player.  Here’s the money quote:

"A player’s first trip through the arbitration process is usually fairly inexpensive… but upon reaching arbitration for the second, third and fourth times, prices can begin to make teams uncomfortable…. Teams will decide…whether to tender contracts to those arb-eligible players… or cut them loose — a non-tender. By non-tendering a player, the team is allowing him to immediately become a free agent."

So who among the Pirates in that list are non-tender candidates? That’s the goal of this piece. So let’s start by framing the list.

Next: No chance to be non-tendered