Non-tender deadline looms large for Pittsburgh Pirates

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Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Melancon led all of baseball in saves last year with 51, a figure even more staggering when remembering that he blew only 2 saves all year.

With a $10 million projected salary, it’s not hard to understand that Melancon’s days as a Pirate are numbered.

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But, here’s the thing: in order to trade him, he has to be under contract. Thus, the Pirates will offer Melancon a contract and head to arbitration.

The Pirates are in a bad way with Melancon’s contract. In no way would they want to pay a closer $10 million, especially given the team’s history with closers. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the team has Melancon on the books for that huge salary, which handicaps their ability to trade him. To be sure, the teams that are likely to be interested in Melancon won’t balk at the price tag, but with the knowledge that the Pirates are already in the market to trade the hurler, the return goes down significantly.

Tying back to the theme of paying for their success, the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to be forced into some moves that they would rather not have had to do as a result of a fantastic 98-win season. It’s true that Huntington and his staff may have some plans in mind or talks in progress that won’t be hindered by tendering their heavy hitters before the winter meetings, but the inability to put a deal together before the non-tender deadline could severely impact potential returns.

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