Beginning at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the Pirates were free to negotiate with any free agents, not just their own. In today’s Post-Gazette, we discuss the Pirates’ needs and approach to free agency.
The Pirates may not have much room to maneuver. They have $41.2 million committed to six players in 2013, though contributions from the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros reduce the Pirates’ portion of the salary commitments to $27.7 million.
Their payroll will increase due to raises for Joel Hanrahan, Garrett Jones, James McDonald and Neil Walker, among others, in the arbitration process. Those raises could total $20 million or more. The Pirates opened 2012 with a payroll of about $63 million, $51 million of which they were responsible for. That leaves only a couple million dollars to work with if payroll stays the same.
A quick note about qualifying offers: The Pirates did not have to worry about extending one to any of their free agents. To receive draft-pick compensation if one of their free agents signs with another team, clubs must offer the player a one-year guaranteed contract equal to the top 125 salaries from last season, which equals $13.3 million. The Pirates would not offer that to any of their departing free agents; the deadline was Friday at 5 p.m.
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