Pittsburgh Pirates Offseason: Payroll Flexibility
The Pirates starting field is as close to a lock as can be. Francisco Cervelli ($9 million) will be behind the dish, Josh Bell will be at first ($532,500), Josh Harrison ($7.75 million) will be at second, Jung Ho Kang ($2.75 million) at third, and Jordy Mercer, who is arbitration eligible, will be at shortstop. Mercer is projected to make $4 million, an increase of $1.925 million from 2015. Mercer once again left a lot to be desired with the stick, had minimal range. In 2016 Mercer ranked fourth worst in fWAR, in 2015 he was second worst among those with 350 plate appearances, and in 2014 he ranked middle of the pack. An upgrade would be nice, but given the free agent class and the likely options available in trade, Mercer at $4 million is a fine asset for the Pirates, especially if Newman is ready this summer.
The outfield is set, unless the once unthinkable occurs with the start centerfielder. Starling Marte will be in left for $5.333 million, Andrew McCutchen will be in center for $14 million, and Gregory Polanco will be in right for $1.6 million.
The Pirates starting lineup will cost $45.966 million, and combined with the pitching, has the Pirates 25 man payroll at $70.597.