Pittsburgh Pirates: Checking In on the 2020 Contracts

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have plenty of work to do this offseason to build a contender.  As of now, here is what the payroll looks like heading into 2020.

The most talked about thing every offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates is the team’s payroll.  Every offseason starts the same, there is optimism that the team team will spend a little more and fill in the glaring holes with legitimate talent.  Instead, fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates see the team bring in minor league veterans and bounce back candidates to try to fill the spots; the cheap route most of the time.

With so much turnover in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, there is hope that it will lead to a change in operations.  Maybe under a new team President, front office staff, and coaching staff, the team will do a better job at developing players and potentially bringing in more impact talent if it seems like the right fit.

Where exactly does the Pittsburgh Pirates current payroll sit for 2020?  It is hard to say due to the amount of players that are arbitration eligible.  During last offseason, the front office referenced this fact while defending their limited spending.  As much as fans rolled their eyes at the Pittsburgh Pirates brass, it is true; the team has 10 players heading into arbitration.  There have been projections made by MLB Trade Rumors and those are the figures that will be used for the arbitration eligible players.

2020 Pirates Projected Payroll
Starling Marte$11,500,000Club Option
Gregory Polanco$8,000,000
Chris Archer$8,250,000Club Option
Josh Bell$5,900,000First Year Arb
Keone Kela$3,400,000Final Year Arb
Joe Musgrove$3,400,000First Year Arb
Adam Frazier$3,200,000First Year Arb
Trevor Williams$3,000,000First Year Arb
Jameson Taillon$2,300,000First Year Arb
Elias Diaz$1,400,000First Year Arb
Chad Kuhl$1,400,000First Year Arb
Tom Koehler$1,250,000Club Option
Michael Feliz$1,200,000Second Year Arb
Erik Gonzalez$800,000First Year Arb
11 League Min$550,000

The Pittsburgh Pirates have quite a few things to take care of this offseason. The first will be to hire a new General Manager who will ultimately decide who will stay and who will go off of the list above.  With a couple players entering the back end of their team control, the new front office may decide to hit the reset button.  However, there is also a large group of young players who should enter their primes together, giving the team a solid core foundation to build on.

The team’s payroll based on the figures about is projected to be around $65 million (assuming a small free agent signing), about 10-15 million less than 2019.  It is also likely that Felipe Vazquez‘s contract, $5,250,000 for 2020, will be voided.  That should also give the team some extra flexibility to add some talent this offseason.

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Also keep in mind they could move a couple of the names above to open up even more payroll. Starling Marte trade speculation has already started along with a few other players.  As always, the key will be if the Bucs actually and effectively spend the $15-25 million in payroll.  That would put them around $80-85 million, a respectable number that they should be at.

All Salary Figures are courtesy of Spotrac and MLBTR