Pittsburgh Pirates Off Season: Arbitration Projections

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have three players heading into arbitration this winter.  What is the expectation for what they will receive?

As the offseason slowly chugs along, the Pittsburgh Pirates are getting ready to determine what kind of roster moves they need to make.  The team has lost former starting shortstop Jordy Mercer and starting second baseman Josh Harrison.  The team also has to figure out what to do in right field with Gregory Polanco being injured and likely being out to start the season.

However, there is another step in the process that goes on during the Major League Baseball offseason.  Teams have to figure out arbitration with the eligible players.  For those who do not know, arbitration is typically how player’s salaries are determined in the last three years of their entry contract.  When a player first gets called up, they have six years of control, the first three are normally paid close to the league minimum (the team can decide how much to pay).  Then in the second half, the players have the right to file for arbitration.

Now teams and players can avoid arbitration by agreeing on what they believe to be a fair deal.  If they cannot come to an agreement, the two sides have to file what they believe the salary should be and a mediator determines which side is correct.  Meanwhile, it is quite common for two sides to file then agree on a middle ground before it even goes to the arbitrator.  Just last year the Pittsburgh Pirates did this with Jordy Mercer.

This offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates have three players that are arbitration eligible. This includes outfielder Corey Dickerson, and relievers Keone Kela and Michael Feliz.  Dickerson is entering his third and final year of arbitration, Kela year two, and Feliz is eligible for the first time.  This is a very small list which helps with a small market team that is trying to plan with a limited budget.

MLB Trade Rumors puts out their projections for players going to arbitration every year.  They do a pretty good job of estimating and usually are very close to the salaries.  Here is what they have projected for the three Pittsburgh Pirates: Corey Dickerson $8.4 million, Keone Kela $3.2 million, and Michael Feliz $900K.

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So all three estimated salaries are very reasonable for the Pittsburgh Pirates to pay.  Dickerson was a logical trade candidate due to him entering his final year of control, but with Polanco’s injury and a reasonable salary, it seems less likely.  Feliz will be lucky to get his 900K after a terrible first year in Pittsburgh.  Keone Kela proved to be a valuable back-end of the bullpen arm and fully deserved the estimated value.  It remains to be seen if the team will work out separate deals with the players or if all three reach arbitration.