PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Pirates GM Neal Huntington wasn’t shy about the team’s payroll plans Wednesday.
After already passing on options for catchers Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, pitcher Paul Maholm and shortstop Ronny Cedeno — a total of $32.8 million — Huntington said there will likely be more players let go.
“We’re going to non-tender some players that people don’t want us to non-tender,” Huntington said, according to the team’s official website. “We’re going to tender some players that probably surprise some people. But those are the business decisions that we have to make. Every year, arbitration is going to organically drive up payroll higher.”
Many expect this means first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones is the next to go. Nine current roster members are arbitration eligible, but Huntington won’t tender contracts to the entire group.
Jones, who turned 30 this past June, doesn’t figure to be part of the teams plans moving forward given Huntington’s statements. His age and the organizational depth in the outfield likely give Huntington little reason to tender Jones.
“As we have said from Day 1, the decisions that we have made about payroll have been baseball decisions,” Huntington said. “We wanted to go with younger players. We wanted to trade free agents to add depth into the system. As this club matures, the payroll of this club will increase. It may not increase at the pace that everyone wants it to in the same way that the progression of our wins and losses have not.”
The Pirates had the 27th-lowest payroll to open the 2011 season and haven’t opened a season with a payroll higher than $50 million since 2003.