Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors came out with a system last year to project expected arbitration prices. Here were the projections last year, and what the players actually received. Player (Projection/Actual) Joel Hanrahan ($4.0/$4.1) Casey McGehee ($3.1/$2.5375) Jeff Karstens ($2.8/$3.1) Garrett Jones ($2.4/$2.25) Ross Ohlendorf ($2.1/Non-Tendered) Charlie Morton ($2.1/$2.445) Jose Veras ($2.5/$2.0 with Milwaukee) Chris Resop ($1.1/$0.85) Evan Meek ($0.9/$0.875) Jason Grilli ($0.8/$1.1) For the most part, the predictions were accurate. Almost all of them were within $300 K of the MLBTR prediction. The exceptions were Casey McGehee, Jose Veras, and Charlie Morton, who was just barely outside of $300 K. Today, MLBTR previewed the arbitration eligibles for the Pirates, along with the expected arbitration prices. Below are the expected prices, along with what we had a few weeks ago. The MLBTR projections will be added to the 2013 40-man payroll projection. Our projections don’t go as in-depth, mostly looking at similar players and WAR-based values. I included some notes below for the few players who had a big difference between their projection and ours. Player (MLBTR/Pirates Prospects) – Notes Joel Hanrahan ($6.9/$7.5) – We’ve been using Heath Bell as the comparison for Hanrahan. Bell received $1.255/$4.0/$7.5 in his three years of arbitration. So far Hanrahan is at $1.4/$4.1, which is slightly higher than Bell’s first two years. To keep things uniform, we’ll be changing to the $6.9 M projection, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hanrahan end up closer to $7.5 M. Jeff Karstens ($3.8/$4.8) – A big factor with Karstens will be his injury history. His numbers when healthy warrant the higher price, but his lack of innings could bring that down. I’m guessing the lower MLBTR number looks closer at the injuries. Garrett Jones ($4.4/$4.6) – $200 K difference. Charlie Morton ($2.6/$2.7) – $100 K difference. Chris Resop ($1.3/$1.1) – $200 K difference. James McDonald ($3.0/$2.3) – McDonald will be an interesting arbitration case. It’s hard to pinpoint his value. He looked like an ace in the first half last year, and was horrible in the second half. His overall numbers from the last two years are identical (4.21 ERA in 171 IP each year), but if you look at the advanced metrics he was better this year. MLBTR has the higher number here. Neil Walker ($2.9/$2.7) – $200 K difference. Gaby Sanchez ($1.8/$2.9) – In arbitration you look at a player’s career, and not the most recent season. Sanchez had a 2.3 WAR in 2010 and a 3.0 WAR in 2011. In 2012 he had a -0.1 WAR. We placed equal value on all of the years. MLBTR could be looking more at the most recent year. The projected payroll before these updates was $63,101,800. After the updates it is $61,201,800.
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