Prior to Friday’s 1pm arbitration deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to terms with three arbitration eligible players.
Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to 1-year contract with Drew Hutchison and Jared Hughes to avoid an arbitration hearing. You can read more about the contract with Hutchison here and with Hughes here.
On Friday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to 1-year contracts with three other arbitration eligible players. These three players were starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, shortstop Jordy Mercer, and relief pitcher Juan Nicaiso. This leaves just Tony Watson as an arbitration eligible player who has yet to agree to a contract for 2017.
The first deal to trickle out today was with Jordy Mercer. The Pirates and their shortstop agreed to a 1-year contract worth 4.325 million dollars. This is 325,000 dollars more than he was projected to make in arbitration.
Last week, Rum Bunter broke the news that the Pirates and Mercer had begun to discuss a contract extension. I would expect these talks to continue into Spring Training. And, would not be surprised to see an extension signed before the start of the season.
Next up was Pittsburgh’s best starting pitcher, right-handed hurler Gerrit Cole. Cole is coming off an injury riddled season that saw him post a career high FIP, xFIP, and home run rate. Additionally, his strikeout rate and WAR were both career lows.
Due to these factors, Cole settled for 3.75 million dollars. This is less than he was projected to earn in arbitration. However, due to his injuries in 2016, the Pirates had the leverage here.
Finally, there is reliever Juan Nicasio. The Bucs a Nicasio came to agreement on a 1-year contract worth 3.65 million dollars. Like Cole, this was less than Nicasio was projected to earn in arbitration.
Tony Watson remains the only arbitration eligible Pirate not under contract for 2017. However, it is very possible that Watson is not even a Pirate in 2017. As we reported last night, the Pirates are trying to trade Tony Watson. Honestly, I will be surprised if he is a Pirate this season.