Analyzing some of the easier personnel/financial decisions the Pirates must make this offseason, saving the more difficult ones for a later date.
Those players not likely to be back next season:
Garrett Jones: Coming off what is for a first baseman/corner outfielder a miserable season -- .233/.289/.419 -- .709 -- he will be non-tendered. He had that meager line batting almost exclusively against right-handed pitching. Worse, it includes an .884 OPS in April, which means it was mostly a steep downhill ride after that. Since he made $4.5 million last season and likely would receive at least a token raise to $5.5 million, he is gone. The Pirates have better ways to spend than to pay that kind of money for a light-hitting platoon first baseman.
Outcome: Considering his fine 2012 season, Jones will have little trouble finding another team, although at considerably less than he would have made in arbitration.
Travis Snider: A classic case of a great prospect who never lived up to expectations. All those people expecting the likes of Alex Dickerson, Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson to be sure things for the Pirates, should check out Snider's resume. The minor-league accomplishments of those players pale next to Snider's. The Pirates love his potential but are not likely to pay the $1.5 million or so he'd get in arbitration to be a reserve outfielder.
Outcome: Snider can probably find a better prospective future elsewhere, although a deal with the Pirates is not out of the question.
Michael McKenry: He will probably qualify for arbitration as a Super 2, which means the Pirates won't go there. With Tony Sanchez ready to step in as the No. 2 catcher and heir apparent to Russell Martin, the Pirates will part ways with McKenry.
Outcome: He'll sign a minor-league deal with a team that offers him the quickest path back to MLB.
Justin Morneau: Consider me flabbergasted at the number of people who see a return of Morneau in 2014. What part of zero home runs and three RBIs in 94 at bats do some people not understand? Morneau once was an outstanding player. But he's simply not been the same since concussions took almost a full season away from him. At 33 next season, he still might have some good years left. But on what he showed in September and October, the Pirates, beyond a doubt, must look elsewhere.
Outcome: Morneau, based on his 17 home runs and 74 RBIs with Minnesota in the first five months of last season, could well end up back with the Twins, where he is extremely popular. But it will be for a lot less than the $14 million he earned in 2013.
Marlon Byrd: To be brief, since this has been written about recently, Byrd might be a nice fit for the 2014 Pirates. But considering his success in 2013 -- .291/.336/.511 -- .847 -- he will be too costly to keep. If he were willing to accept, say, a one-year, $5 million deal, he'd be a nice signing. But looking at the last big pay day of his career, he'll cost more than that in terms of years and dollars.
Outcome: He should be able to nail down a two-year contract in the $10 million to $12 million range with a freer spending team.
Clint Barmes: With Jordy Mercer ready to assume a full-time role at shortstop, Barmes, who made $5.5 million last season, is probably too expensive for the Pirates. It is possible, though, that his age and light bat, could push him out of a starting job and make a utility role with the Pirates a possible option.
Outcome: Barmes will probably sign with a team where he has a better chance of starting.
First Published October 16, 2013 8:00 PM