Pittsburgh Pirates Non-Tender One Player Prior To Wednesday’s Deadline


Prior to Wednesday’s deadline to tender contracts to arbtiration eligible players for the 2021 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates non-tendered a reliever and agreed to a contract with three players

Wednesday was the deadline for MLB club’s to tender contracts for the 2021 season to arbitration eligible players. The Pittsburgh Pirates entered Wednesday with nine arbitration eligible players on their 40-man roster.

Early Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates and infielder Erik Gonzalez agreed to a $1.225 million contract for 2021 to avoid arbitration. Later in the night, the team reported that they had agreed to a contract for the 2021 season with two other arbitration eligbile players – starting pitcher Jameson Taillon and reliever Michael Feliz. Terms of the contracts settled upon with Taillon and Feliz are currently unknown.

All in all, 12 of the 13 arbitration eligible Pirate players were tendered a contract for 2021. The one who was not was reliever Clay Holmes. This did not come as a major surprise due to Holmes being limited to just one outing in 2020 due to a forearm issue.

While Holmes has great stuff and potential, he has never been able to get that to translate into results at the MLB level. He owns a career 5.91 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 15.7% walk rate, and 20.8% strikeout rate in 77.2 innings of work.

Gonzalez and Feliz being tendered contracts came as a bit of a surprise, especially Gonzalez. Middle infielders such as Gonzalez are a dime a dozen, and the Pirates may have been able to find a player to fill Gonzalez’s role in 2021 for less than what they will pay him.

As for Feliz, the Pittsburgh Pirates have already added multiple right-handed relievers to their 40-man roster this offseason. Combine this with Feliz being out of minor league options, seeing his 2020 season cut short due to injuries and struggling to pitch consistently in his MLB career, and he also appeared to be a strong non-tender candidate.

This leaves six arbitration eligible players whose contract numbers for 2021 remain up in the air. These five players are second baseman Adam Frazier, starting pitcher Chad Kuhl, reliever Chris Stratton, infielder Colin Moran, catcher Jacob Stallings, starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, first baseman Josh Bell, reliever Kyle Crick, reliever Richard Rodriguez, and starting pitcher Steven Brault.

Frazier, Musgrove and Brault are all on the trading block this offseason, and Bell and Rodriguez could be as well. So, regardless of what their contract numbers end up being for 2021, the Pittsburgh Pirates may not be the team paying them.

It was a slight surprise to see Crick tendered a contract. He struggled in 2019 and 2020. During the 2020 season, his velocity was down on all of his pitches. Crick looks like a pitcher whose right arm may be cooked. Due to this, he was non-tendered candidate.

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By non-tendering Holmes, the Pittsburgh Pirates now have an open spot on their 40-man roster. Assuming they select a player with the number one overall pick in next week’s Rule 5 Draft, the Pirates will not have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to add the player the select.