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Pirates Payroll Rewind: 2013

The Pirates will be without their catcher and leader for a while. (USATSI)

Russell Martin helped rejuvenate the Pirates during the 2013 season.
Photo by USATSI

After taking a deep dive into specific payroll calculations from the CBA and how they apply to the Pirates opening day roster in 2018, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and see where the Pirates ? payroll was and how it has progressed over the years using the same criteria. This is Part 2 of a six-part series which will examine the payroll on a year-to-year basis, looking at starting payrolls, mid-season additions, arbitration raises, amongst plenty of other roster machinations.

These recaps will be more of an overview, so for a primer on the intricacies of how the payrolls are calculated, see the original 2018 piece.

Series: 2012

Next up is 2013, the first year of what would be three consecutive playoff appearances for the Pirates.

Major League Salary: After spending (relatively) big in free agency for 2012 on washed up players, the Pirates spent around the same level for 2013, committing $14,875,000 in free agency to 6 players, 2 of which were re-signed from the season prior. Even though they spent less, they saw much more success with the players they brought in. Part of the Pirates ? renaissance can be attributed to Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano, who signed for $6,500,000 and $1,000,000 in base salary, respectively, for 2013. Many may remember that Liriano originally committed to more, but suffered an injury before the deal could be finalized; he eventually settled for a severely incentivized deal. You can ?t win ?em all, though; Jonathan Sanchez struggled mightily in the final starter’s spot before being designated for assignment a little more than a month into the season. The Pirates also added $17,255,000 via trade between the beginning of 2012 and start of 2013, the large portion of which ?$13,000,000 ?was due to Wandy Rodriguez.

The Pirates ?despite making the playoffs ?were not nearly as active in the trade market during the season as they were in 2012, by not making deals until after the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in July. Despite this fact, they picked up a few pieces that ended up contributing to the team ?s success, acquiring John Buck and Marlon Byrd from the Mets and Justin Morneau from the Twins. The Pirates didn ?t give up a major league player in either trade and added $3,445,604 in major league base salary between the two deals. In addition, the Pirates picked Kyle Farnsworth up off waivers and only paid $78,077 for his solid work down the stretch.

Finally, the Pirates saw arbitration increases of $8,130,000 between 4 players, while contracted salaries for 3 other players increased $4,750,000. Also of note; the cheap, effective bullpen the Pirates utilized for several seasons was definitely in effect in 2013, as it was compromised of 6 minimum salaries, with Jason Grilli the only player above a million dollars, at $2,250,000.

Major League Salary Starting Total: $78,180,000

Major League Salary Final Total: $82,415,582

Minor League Salary: The season started with $758,900 committed to 11 players, and aside from this there ?s really nothing else happening here. This was the final season where both Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison spent time in the minors, however.

Here are some familiar names who had three or more stints in the minors in 2013: Bryan Morris, Alex Presley, Tony Sanchez, Jared Hughes, and Brandon Cumpton.

Minor League Salary Starting Total: $758,900

Minor League Salary Final Total: $704,881

Signing Bonuses: Pro-rated Signing Bonuses equaled $2,125,000, which included Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata ?s extensions, as well as Wandy Rodriguez ? acquired deal. The Pirates also acquired $250,000 worth of signing bonuses between John Buck and Justin Morneau during the season.

Signing Bonuses Starting Total: $2,125,000

Signing Bonuses Final Total: $2,375,000

Signing Bonuses (or Pro-Rated Buyouts): Again, this includes the buyouts from both McCutchen ?s and Tabata ?s deals, as well as Rodriguez ? acquired buyout.

Signing Bonuses (or Pro-Rated Buyouts) Starting Total: $1,041,667

Signing Bonuses (or Pro-Rated Buyouts) Final Total: $1,041,667

Retention Bonuses: This is a new detail that hasn ?t been seen yet, so an explanation needs made. As a way to throw bones to their seasoned members, the CBA stipulates the following:

If a Club signs a Player who became a free agent pursuant to this Section B to a Minor League Uniform Player Contract between the date the Player became a free agent as set forth in subsection B(2)(a) above and ten days prior to the commencement of the next succeeding championship season, the Club shall pay the Player a retention bonus of $100,000 if, by 12 P.M. Eastern Time on the fifth day prior to the first day of the championship season, (i) the Club does not agree in writing to add the Player to its Opening-Day 25-man roster or Major League Disabled List at the commencement of the championship season, or (ii) the Club does not provide the Player with his immediate unconditional release.

Section B Free Agents are players with six or more years of service, so this is basically saying if a team takes a minor league flier on a seasoned veteran, they either have to add him to the roster before the season, release him, or pay him a nice bonus in order to send him to the minors, with his approval.

So why does this all matter? Well, the Pirates signed Jose Contreras to a minor league contract during the offseason, and he started the season in AAA. The payment of a retention bonus to Contreras was not reported anywhere, and these agreements can vary from player to player depending on what he and the team agree to, but since he fits the stipulations to receive a bonus, $100,000 will be added to the payroll.

Retention Bonuses Starting Total: $100,000

Retention Bonuses Final Total: $100,000

Performance Bonuses: Many bonuses are hard to pin down, so only reported incentives are included in these totals. As already mentioned, Francisco Liriano agreed to an incentive-laden deal in lieu of the original deal he agreed on with the Pirates. The details can be found here, but the Pirates ended up paying Liriano an extra $2,125,000 based on days spent on the DL in 2013.

The Pirates also had to pay Andrew McCutchen for his All-Star appearance, as well as his 1st Place MVP finish. Finally, the Pirates paid Jason Grilli a bonus for his All-Star appearance as well.

Performance Bonuses Starting Total: $0

Performance Bonuses Final Total: $2,325,000

Cash Considerations: Nothing to report here, as the Pirates acquired several players for cash ?John McDonald, Brian Jeroloman, Atahualpa Severino, Robert Andino, and Doug Mathis ?which went unreported. Sure, these players meant little to the Pirates, but transaction history is always interesting to look back on.

Cash Considerations Starting Total: $0

Cash Considerations Final Total: $0

Credits: The Pirates had a large amount of salary credits in 2013 ?mainly due to the $8,500,000 from the Yankees to offset A.J. Burnett ?s $16,500,000 salary and the $5,000,000 from the Astros to offset Wandy Rodriguez ? $13,000,000 salary.

The Mets also included $250,000 in considerations to cover a portion of John Buck ?s salary.

Credits Starting Total: $13,500,000

Credits Final Total: $13,750,000

2013 Opening Day Payroll: $68,705,567

Final 2013 Payroll: $75,212,130

Year-to-Year Breakdown

From here on out I ?ll be including a breakdown of how Opening Day payrolls change from season to season based on different transaction types. Keep in mind that it shows transactions made between Opening Days, but doesn ?t compare Ending Payroll of one season to Starting Payroll for the next. I will include those for reference, even though it ?s probably not relevant to compare ending totals to starting totals, as they are apples and oranges.

2012 Start Between 2013 Start
Major League Salary 61,557,000 78,180,000
FA Additions 14,875,000
Trade Acquisitions 17,255,000
Arbitration Raises 8,130,000
Salary Increases 4,750,000
Minimum Salary Increase 1,118,500
Minimum Salary Decrease
FA Losses (5,100,000)
Traded Away (7,970,500)
Non-Tendered (3,100,000)
Option Declined (4,000,000)
Released (9,335,000)
Minor League Salary 821,625 758,900
Decrease (62,725)
Signing Bonuses 1,875,000 2,125,000
Added 1,750,000
Subtracted (1,500,000)
Prorated Buyouts 208,334 1,041,667
Added 833,333
Retention Bonus 100,000
Added 100,000
Termination Pay
Cash Considerations
Credits (11,500,000) (13,500,000)
Added 3,000,000
Subtracted (5,000,000)
Total 52,961,959 15,743,608 68,705,567
Start Finish
2012 52,961,959 59,637,409
2013 68,705,567 75,212,130

Ethan is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. An Accountant by trade, Ethan is passionate about the business of sports and won't apologize for enjoying it more than the actual games. He's a believer in analytics, hasn't played a game since little league, and can be contacted via Twitter @EthanHullihen

3 Comments on Pirates Payroll Rewind: 2013

  1. So two years in a row they ADDED payroll But I read on other blogs this NEVER happens! Those bloggers can’t possibly be wrong, could they

  2. Kevin Schafer // May 23, 2018 at 1:32 AM //

    When Pirate fans scream “RAISE PAYROLL”, they mean raise it to at least $100 million. Many fans feel the teams payroll could easily be at $120 million.

    Raising payroll to $75 million doesn’t impress irate Pirate fans who want the team to win. How much profit did Nutting still make when he blessed Pirate fans by putting the payroll at $75 million?

    Your definition of the Pirates “raising payroll” differs from most Pirate fans. That’s the problem here.

    • I never said they were spending enough, they aren’t. I only stated that they did actually raise payroll DURING the season when others scream that “every July is a salary dump”. That’s obviously not correct.
      No doubt they should be spending about 35-40 million more to start the season.

Comments are closed.