Four file for arbitration


It was basically a formality Tuesday when Garrett Jones, Neil Walker, James McDonald and Gaby Sanchez were among 133 players who officially filed for salary arbitration. The four players and the Pirates will exchange salary figures Friday. Arby hearings, if necessary, will be held in February. The two sides can continue to negotiate a contract until a hearing is finalized. If it goes the full arbitration route, the arbiter must choose either the team’s salary request or the player’s; there is no compromise.

Here is what each player can expect to get via arbitration, as projected by Jones $4.4 million, McDonald $3 million, Walker $2.9 million and Sanchez $1.8 million.

Don’t be surprised if the club soon reaches agreements with all four guys. Last year, the Pirates came to terms and avoided arby hearings with seven of their eight eligible players. The exception was Jones, who lost his hearing and was awarded $2.25 million instead of the $2.5 million he wanted. Since the process began in 1974, the Pirates are 10-10 against players in arbitration hearings.

The Pirates went into this offseason with eight arbitration-eligible players. Jeff Karstens was non-tendered, which made him a free agent, and he is on the verge of re-signing for around $2.5 million. Charlie Morton quickly agreed to $2 million for 2013 and avoided arbitration. Chris Resop and Joel Hanrahan were traded. Morton has one year of arby eligibility left. Jones and McDonald have two years to go. Walker qualified for Super 2 status, and still has three years of arby remaining.

»»» Team USA’s provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic will be released at 10 p.m. Thursday during on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show. The network will reveal rosters for the other 15 teams at 4 p.m. As I wrote the other day, Jason Grilli (Italy) and Russ Martin (Canada) have agreed to play. Starling Marte (Dominican Republic) and Chris Leroux (Canada) also have been invited, but I haven’t gotten confirmation yet of their final decisions. I’d expect Leroux will play for Canada and Marte will opt to remain in spring training camp with the Pirates.