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Pirates avoid arbitration with Tony Watson, Jared Hughes

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Tony Watson and Jared Hughes, via Bill Brink and Ben Nicholson-Smith. Watson will get $3.45 million, Hughes $2.175 million. Watson's figure comes in signficantly below MLBTR's $4.6 million projection (although it still roughly doubles his salary from 2015); Hughes' is very close to his projected $2.2 million. The moves, coming in the wake of a series of arbitration-avoiding deals for Chris Stewart, Jeff Locke, Jordy Mercer and Francisco Cervelli, leave Mark Melancon as the only Pirate with an arbitration case remaining.

That Watson's salary came in relatively low could turn out quite well for the Pirates, particularly if they end up trading Melancon this offseason. If they do, and Watson moves into the closer's role and does well, he'll still get a significant raise for 2017, but less of one than he would have had his salary been in the $4.6 million range this year. Watson is eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Hughes, meanwhile, is eligible after 2018.