First Pitch: Which Arbitration Eligible Players Should the Pirates Bring Back?

Twenty seven point nine million dollars.

That’s all it would take to sign the entire Pittsburgh Pirates arbitration class of 11 players this year, according to the latest MLBTR projections.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Chasen Shreve – $2.3MM
  • Chad Kuhl – $3.0MM
  • Ben Gamel – $2.9MM
  • Wilmer Difo – $1.1MM
  • Colin Moran – $4.0MM
  • Chris Stratton – $2.2MM
  • Steven Brault – $2.2MM
  • Jacob Stallings – $2.6MM
  • Kevin Newman – $2.2MM
  • Michael Perez – $900K
  • Bryan Reynolds – $4.5MM

The Pirates can obviously afford to sign the entire class. However, let’s break down who they should sign, and who they might be better off saving money on by passing. The “saving money” comes with the assumption that they’d use that money on better options.


Bryan Reynolds – This one is obvious, and you’d hope the Pirates would pursue an extension with Reynolds.

Jacob Stallings – Another obvious pick. I’m not sure an extension needs to be pursued here, as Stallings is entering his age 32 season, and Henry Davis is now in the system.

Steven Brault – The Pirates have very little pitching, and Brault has been solid when he’s been healthy.

Ben Gamel – I’m adding him to the list, as he showed enough production this year as a starter, and the Pirates need corner outfielders. He might not be a long-term solution, but he can help in the short-term, and perhaps be a long-term bench option on a better team.

Fringe Options

Chris Stratton – The Pirates are short on relievers, and Stratton can cover innings and pitch in late innings. He’s only projected for $2.2 million, and that would tip him closer to a must-sign if I had to make a choice.

Chad Kuhl – Kuhl can start and pitch in relief, but is coming off a bad season of both. He’s done better in the past, and that’s what has him projected for $3 million. He’d be worth taking a chance on for one more year, due to the lack of pitching.

Kevin Newman – I think the Pirates need to look at other shortstop options, perhaps finally giving Cole Tucker a shot at the position. Newman had strong defense, but didn’t hit. He’d be a good bench option who could start, with the hope that a new hitting coach could unlock the hit tool that once made him a promising prospect.

Wilmer Difo – He was worth 0.5 WAR and can play all over the field. He’s also entering his age 30 season. Difo is projected for $1.1 million. The Pirates could probably find a replacement for the minimum with the same production, so my bet is he gets non-tendered.

Expensive Bench Options

The guys below are your prime non-tender candidates, due to their reduced value off the bench, or their increased cost.

Colin Moran – He’s making $4 million and was replacement level. At his best, Moran has been worth half a WAR. The Pirates could use this money toward a better first base option, perhaps even using it to re-sign Yoshi Tsutsugo.

Chasen Shreve – I can’t see him getting $2.3 million as a replacement level reliever. He’d be a good option as depth out of Triple-A on a minor league deal, but didn’t show enough in that role to secure a spot on the team next year.

Michael Perez – The Pirates should be able to find a defensive catching option who can improve on Perez’s offense at the plate. That’s especially important with Stallings north of 30, needing more time off than your normal catcher.

Daily Links

**Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 Minor League Recaps: Greensboro Grasshoppers

**Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 Minor League Recaps: Bradenton Marauders

**Pirates Projected Arbitration Salaries for 2022

**Ten Positives for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021 – No. 1: Bryan Reynolds

**The Biggest Small Market Approach From the Boston Red Sox

**Card of the Day: 1977 Kellogg’s Dave Parker

**This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: October 11th, Clemente Plays His Final Game

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