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  1. #1
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    Pirates Offseason Discussion Part I

    What a magical, unforgettable year 2013 was. Sure it ended in disappointment but there are moments in this season that I will never forget. For the entirety of my childhood the Pirates have been the butt of jokes but this season has changed that. They are once again beloved by the city and embraced like they always should have been. Baseball is back in Pittsburgh and that is a wonderful thing. The Pirates making this transition is a good parallel with my life as I am beginning to transition into the "real world" just as the Pirates are transitioning into lets call it "real" baseball. All that being said the 2013 season is over and while it was a memorable one there are only 172 days to Opening Day 2014. We need to start preparing for that and that is where we will begin. To start off let's take a look at how the Pirates roster breaks down.

    Under Contract: Wandy Rodriguez*, Russell Martin, Andrew McCutchen, Jason Grilli, Jose Tabata, Francisco Liriano

    Arbitration Eligible: Garrett Jones*, Neil Walker, Charlie Morton*, Gaby Sanchez, Pedro Alvarez*, Mark Melancon*, Michael McKenry*, Travis Snider*, Vin Mazzaro*, Felix Pie*

    League Min Players with Options: Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, Jordy Mercer, Phil Irwin, Gerrit Cole, Kris Johnson, Andrew Lambo, Tony Sanchez, Chase d'Arnaud, Brandon Cumpton, Ryan Reid

    League Min Players without Options: Jeanmar Gomez, Bryan Morris, Kyle McPherson*, Stolmy Pimentel, Andrew Oliver, Jerry Sands

    Free Agents: A.J. Burnett, Justin Morneau, John Buck, Clint Barmes, Jeff Karstens, Marlon Byrd, Kyle Farnsworth

    Notable Players Eligible for Rule V Draft: Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson*, Carlos Paulino, Gift Ngoepe, Casey Sadler, David Bromberg*, Zack Dodson, Zach Thornton, Justin Howard, Stetson Allie, Erik Cordier*, Ivan De Jesus*, Mel Rojas, Adalberto Santos, Joely Rodriguez

    Likely Positions of Need: 1B, SS, RF, SP

    Notes
    1. Wandy Rodriguez has a player option he is likely to exercise
    2. Jones, Morton, Melancon, Snider, Mazzaro and Pie are all arbitration eligible and are out of options
    3. Pedro Alvarez has a player option he is likely to decline and head to arbitration.
    4. Michael McKenry is a likely Super 2 player meaning he should be arbitration eligible
    5. The Pirates will likely seek a 4th option for McPherson
    6. Alen Hanson may or may not be Rule V eligible
    7. Bromberg, Cordier and De Jesus in addition to being Rule V eligible are minor league free agents
    Last edited by burgh_fan66; 10-10-2013 at 09:35 AM.
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  2. #2
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    First just looking at the free agents.

    A.J. Burnett - He is coming off a great year and I would love to have him back as our #3. I think I would make him a qualifying offer which would be 1 year at 14 million and then see if we can negotiate a 2 year deal for some where between 20-24 million.

    Justin Morneau - Morneau looked solid defensively and hit respectable albeit without any power. Wouldn't be my first choice but could be an interesting fall back option. Still I would only do one year at about 6 million.

    John Buck - No thank you. I'll take a Martin/Sanchez duo behind the dish with McKenry in AAA

    Clint Barmes - It may be an unpopular opinion but I like Barmes and the SS market is bare so we could do a lot worse for a backup than Barmes, Hand the reigns over to Mercer but see if Barmes will come back for something like 1 year, 1.5-2 million

    Jeff Karstens - I haven't lost faith in Karstens but his frailty has reached a point where he has to earn it. A minor league contract to provide some depth is what I'd be ok with.

    Marlon Byrd - He is going to be a popular one to want to bring back but his age 35 season was the best of his career meaning it seems unlikely he'll replicate it. He is probably going to be looking a fairly big 2 or 3 year deal and that would be a mistake. If he'd take a 1 year deal I'd consider it.

    Kyle Farnsworth - Relievers like him are a dime a dozen. A low one year contract to hang around as depth and provide insurance for Melancon would be ok but if he leaves no real big loss.

    So really the only FA I would really like to see brought back is Burnett. Barmes, Karstens and Farnsworth are decent depth options but whether they return or not isn't real a big deal. Byrd and Morneau might be good fits under the right circumstances but they seem unlikely to me.
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  3. #3
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    I think the off-season should go like this.

    1. Extend Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. I'm sure Neil wants to be a Pirate for life, but he could net 10 mil per year when he hits FA, and you want to keep the hometown player. Pedro and Boras are willing to sign an extension, and he could net 15 mil per year in FA, assuming he bumps up that OBP by .30 points.
    Neil gets a 5 year/35 mil and Pedro nets 7 years/56 mil.

    2. Resign AJ to 2 years/26 million.

    3. Resign Byrd to 2 yrs/15 mil, if not sign Jason Bay or Jason Kubel. If you sign Jason Bay, he can platoon in RF with Tabata, and could be had for 1 year/2 mil. Jason Kubel's team option will not be picked up by the Indians after a terrible year, he could have a huge bounce year, and could be had for 2 years/10 mil.

    4. If you can, go after Abreu, if not look to pick up Ike Davis if the Mets non-tender him. I don't think the Mets non-tender him, but he could have a huge year in Pittsburgh, assuming the Mets don't offer him arbitration. He draws a lot of walks, has great power and potential, but he strikes out a lot and had some up and down seasons.

    5. Sign Erid Bedard or Bruce Chen to be a back end starter. Sure you have Taillon and Kingham ready in the minors, but you could never have too much pitching. take it from a Met fan, I thought my team had great pitching for next year, but Harvey; Mejia, and Hefner go down, and now my rotation is a bit of a question mark. Chen should net 2 years/12 mil and Bedard can be had for 1 year/4 mil.
    Last edited by Cosmic_Canon; 10-10-2013 at 11:17 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmic_Canon View Post
    I think the off-season should go like this.

    1. Extend Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. I'm sure Neil wants to be a Pirate for life, but he could net 10 mil per year when he hits FA, and you want to keep the hometown player. Pedro and Boras are willing to sign an extension, and he could net 15 mil per year in FA, assuming he bumps up that OBP by .30 points.
    Neil gets a 5 year/35 mil and Pedro nets 7 years/56 mil.

    2. Resign AJ to 2 years/26 million.

    3. Resign Byrd to 2 yrs/15 mil, if not sign Jason Bay or Jason Kubel. If you sign Jason Bay, he can platoon in RF with Tabata, and could be had for 1 year/2 mil. Jason Kubel's team option will not be picked up by the Indians after a terrible year, he could have a huge bounce year, and could be had for 2 years/10 mil.

    4. If you can, go after Abreu, if not look to pick up Ike Davis if the Mets non-tender him. I don't think the Mets non-tender him, but he could have a huge year in Pittsburgh, assuming the Mets don't offer him arbitration. He draws a lot of walks, has great power and potential, but he strikes out a lot and had some up and down seasons.

    5. Sign Erid Bedard or Bruce Chen to be a back end starter. Sure you have Taillon and Kingham ready in the minors, but you could never have too much pitching. take it from a Met fan, I thought my team had great pitching for next year, but Harvey; Mejia, and Hefner go down, and now my rotation is a bit of a question mark. Chen should net 2 years/12 mil and Bedard can be had for 1 year/4 mil.
    All very solid suggestions however I have a slightly different idea.

    I don't see Pedro actually signing an extension and I'm 50/50 on whether I think we should give one to Walker. My priorities would be signing Marte and Cole to deals.

    Minor quibble with AJ but I think 2 years, 20-24 million gets it done.

    I want to stay away from Byrd and my target of choice is David Murphy. He is coming off a poor year and could be looking to reestablish value. Give him a 1 year deal worth about 5-6 million and I think it gets it done. Platoon him with Tabata of course.

    I'm not sold on the starting pitching. Depth is of course good but the Pirates can go pretty deep. Liriano, Burnett, Cole, Rodriguez, Morton, Locke, McPherson, Irwin, Cumpton, Wilson, Gomez, Pimentel, Johnson, Taillon, Kingham, Sadler (who I think could be next year's Brandon Cumpton). That's 16 arms the Pirates have who could conceivably start games for them in 2014.
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  5. #5
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    Rotation: Liriano, Cole, Wandy, Morton.

    "Set" at Catcher, 2B, 3B, LF and CF.

    Bullpen "locks" are Grilli, Melancon, Watson and Wilson...with a zillion internal options to fill it out.

    Holes: 1B, SS, RF/LF and starting depth (though, there are internal options galore...and AJ plays a role into that as well)


    1B: Ideally they nab Abreu who I think is a great fit. The Jones and Sanchez platoon isn't gonna cut it, and since both are in the midst of their arbitration years they're not gonna get cheaper. Jones might net 5-6 million and Sanchez 3 or so. That's way too much money for that platoon. There's not really a great internal option to replace them. After Abreu there isn't much. Kendrys Morales is about it. Maybe Napoli (very iffy defender) or Hart (injury). I think Abreu is gonna be the most bang for the buck, especially considering how much last year's 1B free agents got.

    SS: I'm fine with bringing Barmes back for depth purposes, and especially considering how weak the FA crop is, but I'm not convinced Mercer is the guy to be starting 100+ games next year. Hanson probably will play a role in this equation relatively soon. I'd love to bring in Drew, who can defend well and brings a competent bat to the table too.

    OF: Polanco's ETA could be sometime next year, but this is a big short-term hole and maybe the easiest place to make a big splash (besides Abreu). There are some decent OF options on the FA market.


    Abreu is the big splash I most want to see happen.
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  6. #6
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    Two questions before I go on.

    1. When will the Pirates get a new tv deal?
    2. How does the Pirate's success affect their payroll? Their 2013 payroll was just shy of 80 mil, is it conceivably for them to bump it to 90 mil.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmic_Canon View Post
    Two questions before I go on.

    1. When will the Pirates get a new tv deal?
    2. How does the Pirate's success affect their payroll? Their 2013 payroll was just shy of 80 mil, is it conceivably for them to bump it to 90 mil.
    The TV deal is a little ways off everything I have seen says it doesn't expire until after 2019. I would definitely think 90 million would be reasonable though.
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  8. #8
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    What does arbitration mean (sorry for being a newb)






  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm2054 View Post
    What does arbitration mean (sorry for being a newb)
    No problem I'll give it a brief explanation.

    It is all based on service time which is the amount of time a player has spent on a major league roster. Now this also includes time spent on the DL. There are 172 service days in a service year (a player can only earn one service year in any given year though, ie if they are on the roster 172 days or all season usually about 180-185 days it counts as a year in both cases) and the usually way of writing out a players service time is years.days. Take McCutchen before this year his service time was 3.123. Meaning he had accrued three full service years and 123 days.

    When a player has less than 3 years of service time the team sets his salary. This is usually right around league minimum although most clubs give token raises as players perform well and their service time increases.

    When a player has between 3 and 6 years of service time they are called arbitration eligible. That means the team still controls their rights but the player now has some power to negotiate his salary. Usually the two sides agree on an amount but if not each side submits an amount and they go before an independent party (arbitrator) and argue for their amount. The arbitrator then decides between the two amounts and that is the player's salary for that year. Generally speaking arbitration follows a 40/60/80 scale meaning in the first year the player is supposed to get 40% of his market value, in the second year they are supposed to get 60% and the third year 80%

    Now a Super 2 player is an arbitration eligible player that gets 4 years of arbitration instead of 3. These are the 22% of players with service time between 2 and 3 years that have the most service time. This year the estimated cut off is 2 years and 122 days (2.122). Michael McKenry (2.136) is likely to fall into this group this year and Garrett Jones and Neil Walker have fallen into in prior years. A good rule of thumb here is that these players go on a 30/50/70/90 scale. So McKenry should get 30% of his market value this year.

    All of this assumes the team and the player haven't agreed to a contract and are going on a yearly basis.
    Last edited by burgh_fan66; 10-10-2013 at 01:56 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Abreu would be a good player to bring in at 1B as something definitely has to be done at 1B. Jones is likely to be non-tendered and Sanchez is possible as well. Right now my guess would be a Sanchez/Lambo platoon for next year but that needs to be improved upon. Abreu is easily the best option.

    On the trade front I wonder if they might revisit the Trumbo idea. The Angels want some young pitching and for better or worse they seem stuck with Pujols at 1B. Trumbo is an electric bat with his power but I wouldn't give up Taillon for him because he simply just doesn't get on base enough to be worth that. However any other pitching prospect might be fair game for him. His high strike outs and lack of OBP wouldn't be an ideal fit for this team but his RH power bat would like nice in the middle of the order.
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    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/1/4...n-with-pirates

    Ok so you have 10 mil to spend, and Alvarez and Boras are open to signing an extension. If you can buy out one or two of his FA years, then consider it a success. A 5 year/75 mil extension would be great(4 mil in 2014; 9 mil in 2015, 18 mil in 2016, 20 mil in 2017, 23 mil in 2018). Assuming Alvarez signs the deal, he would go from making .7 mil in 2013 to 4 mil in 2014. That's a 2.3 mil increase in payroll. If I'm Alvarez, I sign this deal, and I can possibly net a 100 mil contract when I hit FA again as a 32 year old in 2019.

    If Alvarez signs that deal, he goes from making .7 mil in 2013 to making 4 mil, that would be a 2.3 mil increase in payroll. Extend Walker coming off a decent year for below market value. A four year/37 mil extension should do it(5 mil in 2014, 6 mil in 2015, 12 mil in 2016, 14 mil in 2017). You keep him for all of his prime and you keep your core position players in Pittsburgh for 4+ years. Walker made 3 mil last year, so he nets a 2 mil increase, and bumps the payroll to about 85 mil.

    Resign Burnett to a 2 year/24 mil deal

    Obviously you have some guys who will get raises(most notably McCutchen), but these are just some deals the Pirates can do right?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManRamForPrez24 View Post
    Rotation: Liriano, Cole, Wandy, Morton.
    I'm still not sure if Wandy will actually pitch next season. His prognosis, as far as I know, was arthritis and I could be wrong but I always thought arthritis lasted for the rest of your life? If so, I don't see what difference an offseason makes, as the thing that kept him out will still be there at the start of next season
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomahawk27 View Post
    I'm still not sure if Wandy will actually pitch next season. His prognosis, as far as I know, was arthritis and I could be wrong but I always thought arthritis lasted for the rest of your life? If so, I don't see what difference an offseason makes, as the thing that kept him out will still be there at the start of next season
    im sure he will get ways to pitch thru the pain and the pirates are only paying half his salary the stros are picking up the rest. as a no brainer goes he will pick up his option no way he makes what he will get from the pirates and stros on the open market

  14. #14
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    and what about james mc donald dident see his name mentioned

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripleplayer543 View Post
    and what about james mc donald dident see his name mentioned
    McDonald was DFA'd by the Pirates in September. He is a free agent right now.
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