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Pirates avoid arbitration with Jordy Mercer, Juan Nicasio and Gerrit Cole

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have agreed to a contract with shortstop Jordy Mercer:

MLBTR had projected Mercer to receive $4M. He made $2.075M in 2016. Mercer is coming off a 2016 season in which he posted a 256/328/374, which is very close to his career numbers, albeit with career-best walk and K rates. The defensive metrics largely showed his fielding to have slipped from previous years, although single-year defensive numbers can be misleading. The Pirates supposedly had some limited discussions with Mercer about an extension. (It should be noted that it’s not clear whether the Pirates were looking to buy out one or more free agency years — Mercer is eligible after the 2018 season — or just looking to lock down his two remaining arbitration seasons.) That doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere, although the subject could possibly get revisited if the Pirates trade Kevin Newman.

I’ll update this post as information emerges about the Pirates’ three remaining arbitration eligibles: Gerrit Cole, Tony Watson and Juan Nicasio.

UPDATE: The Pirates have agreed on a $3.65M salary with Juan Nicasio. In addition, they’ve reached a deal with Gerrit Cole:

MLBTR projected a $4.6M deal for Nicasio and $4.2M for Cole.

There are conflicting accounts at this point on whether the Pirates will go to a hearing with Tony Watson or whether there’s still some chance of a deal.

UPDATE: The Pirates have not reached agreement with Watson, so a hearing appears likely although not guaranteed.

AAAND ANOTHER UPDATE: The Pirates and Watson don’t appear to be very far apart.

MLBTR projected $5.9M.