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The Pirates agreed to terms on contracts with Neil Walker and James McDonald, the team announced Thursday evening, avoiding salary arbitration with their final two eligible players.
The Pirates also agreed to contracts with Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez and Charlie Morton, ensuring they would stay out of the hearing room.
Update 9:47 p.m.: Walker and McDonald both agreed to the midpoints of the filed salary figures. Walker will make $3.3 million and McDonald will make $3.025 million, according to a source.
Walker, eligible for the first time as a Super 2 player, asked for $3.6 million. The Pirates submitted a figure of $3 million, meaning a $3.3 million midpoint. He made $500,000 in 2012.
McDonald, also eligible for the first time, asked for $3.4 million. The Pirates filed at $2.65 million, creating a midpoint of $3.025 million. He made $502,500 last season.
The agreement means the Pirates have roughly $70 million committed to 14 players for the 2013 season, about $56 million of which will come out of their pocket after receiving payments toward the salaries of A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. The final 11 players on the active roster and players in the minor leagues will bring their 40-man roster payroll to roughly $75 million.
If Francisco Liriano's deal becomes official, that payroll will increase.
Walker and McDonald were both on their way to good seasons but second-half issues plagued them. McDonald, 28, struck out 100 batters in 110 first-half innings, but had a 7.52 ERA and walked 38 batters in 61 innings after the All-Star break. Manager Clint Hurdle eventually removed him from the rotation.
Walker, 27, hit .280 with 14 home runs, but missed about half of September because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
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