Walker, McDonald OK deals for one year with Pirates

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The Pirates have agreed to terms with second baseman Neil Walker and pitcher James McDonald on one-year contracts, avoiding salary arbitration with their final two eligible players.

The team made the announcement Thursday night.

Walker will make $3.3 million and McDonald will make $3,025,000, according to a source. Those numbers represent the midpoints of the filed salary figures.

Previously, the Pirates had agreed to contracts with outfielder-first baseman Garrett Jones, first baseman Gaby Sanchez and pitcher Charlie Morton to avoid arbitration.

Walker, eligible for arbitration for the first time as a Super 2 player, asked for $3.6 million. The Pirates submitted a figure of $3 million. Walker made $500,000 in 2012.

McDonald, also eligible for arbitration for the first time, asked for $3.4 million. The Pirates filed at $2.65 million. McDonald made $502,500 last season.

The agreement means the Pirates have about $70 million committed to 14 players for the 2013 season, about $56 million of which will come out of their pocket after receiving payments toward the salaries of pitchers A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez.

The final 11 players on the active roster and players in the minor leagues will bring their 40-man roster payroll to roughly $75 million.

The payroll will increase if starting pitcher Francisco Liriano's deal becomes official.

Walker and McDonald were on their way to good seasons before second-half issues slowed them.

McDonald, 28, struck out 100 batters in 110 first-half innings, but had a 7.52 ERA and walked 38 batters in 61 innings after the All-Star break.

Manager Clint Hurdle eventually removed him from the rotation.

Walker, 27, hit .280 with 14 home runs, but missed about half of September because of a herniated disc in his lower back.

Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens and Chris Resop also were eligible for arbitration this offseason. The Pirates traded Hanrahan and Resop and parted ways with Karstens before the non-tender deadline, then re-signed him later.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published February 1, 2013 5:00 AM


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