Pirates sign Walker, McDonald to contracts
The Pirates on Thursday avoided salary arbitration with second baseman Neil Walker and pitcher James McDonald by signing each to one-year contracts.
Walker's deal is worth $3.3 million and McDonald's $3.025 million, industry sources said.
Walker, 27, is in the first of his four years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $3.6 million, and the team countered with $3 million. Last year, he made $500,000, which was slightly more than the major league minimum.
McDonald, 28, in the first of his three years of eligibility, filed for $3.4 million, and the team countered with $2.65 million. He made $502,500 last year.
The Pirates previously came to terms with its three other arbitration-eligible players: Garrett Jones ($4.5 million), Gaby Sanchez ($1.754 million) and Charlie Morton ($2 million).
The Pirates have 14 players under contract this year for a total of $69.5 million. However, $13.5 million of that will be paid by the New York Yankees and Houston Astros to partially cover the salaries of pitchers A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. The Pirates still are putting together a deal for free-agent pitcher Francisco Liriano.
At PirateFest in December, president Frank Coonelly said the club's 2013 payroll would be “approaching $70 million.”
This past season, Walker hit .280 with a .768 on-base plus slugging percentage and 69 RBI. His 14 home runs were the most by a Pirates second baseman since Warren Morris hit 15 in 1999.
A herniated disk forced Walker to sit out 27 of the final 35 games, but he is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.
McDonald went 12-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 30 games (29 starts). The right-hander racked up nine victories before the All-Star break and was mentioned as a potential Cy Young Award candidate. But McDonald won just three games in the second half of the season and eventually was banished to the bullpen.
Entering spring training, McDonald is slated to be the No. 3 pitcher in the starting rotation.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.