Looking ahead to arbitration

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Many of you have asked about the Pirates’ upcoming arbitration decisions and who has enough service time to qualify for arbitration this offseason. Turns out the Pirates have 11 players that fall into that category. Those players include…

  • Jason Grilli
  • Joel Hanrahan
  • Garrett Jones
  • Jeff Karstens
  • Evan Meek
  • Charlie Morton
  • Ross Ohlendorf
  • Steve Pearce
  • Chris Resop
  • Jose Veras
  • Brandon Wood

Technically, the Pirates have until midnight ET on December 12 to determine who on this list the club is willing to tender a contract to. By tendering a contract to an arbitration-eligible player, the Pirates would be agreeing to go as far as an arbitration hearing if a deal isn’t mutually worked out.

However, we will have an idea about the Pirates’ direction with some of these players well before mid-December. If the Pirates do not intend to tender a contract to someone on the list, there is a good chance that player will be removed in November so that the Pirates can open up roster spots to protect players from being taken in the Rule 5 Draft. No reason to keep a roster spot occupied by a player who is going to be dropped a few weeks later. (The Pirates, for instance, did this last year with Zach Duke.)

Also, the club can try to work to negotiate a deal with an arbitration-eligible player well before that December 12 deadline. This would be beneficial in cases where the club would like to keep a player but does not want to risk going as far as an arbitration hearing. (The club went this route with Wil Ledezma last offseason, even though Ledezma ended up gone shortly after.)

Looking at this group of 11, I think you can only assume that four of these players are absolutely certain to be tendered contracts. I would put Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton and Evan Meek in that category. Yes, some of the remaining seven are strong possibilities to return. But I wouldn’t call them certainties just yet.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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