$3.05 million might seem like a lot to pay a frustrating pitcher, but it's actually a reasonable price to pay for what Locke provides. The question of his role on the team next year has to do, in my view, with whether it's wise to have both him and Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation. But starting the season with one Jeff Locke starting seems acceptable. And while Locke has already had plenty of time to benefit from Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, maybe there's still a bit of hope he could improve -- this offseason, Searage is working on helping Locke make his delivery more consistent.
With Locke and Chris Stewart's deals, the Pirates have five arbitration-eligible players remaining: Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, Francisco Cervelli, Jared Hughes and Jordy Mercer.