PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Clint Hurdle and the Pirates have some tough decisions to make this offseason.
What will they do with Mark Melancon, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez?
All three are up for their last year of arbitration and in line for big raises.
The three could make upwards of ten million dollars or more next year.
The Pirates are looking at all the best options for the team, which includes trying to one or all of those guys.
Clint Hurdle told Bob Pompeani and Rich Walsh the Pirates have to do "what makes sense". Hurdle also said, "10 million dollars in today's market, where we are, is a substantial salary."
Melancon would be a big void to fill.
The Bucs closer led the majors with 51 saves.
The Pirates have opted not to pay big money to closers in the past and that could be the case again this year with Melancon. "10 million dollars, I think is a stretch for us but it's something I think we would be willing to do if we can make the moves that make sense everywhere else", Hurdle told Walsh and Pompeani.
The moves "everywhere else" Hurdle is talking about would be addresses the bullpen, the Pirates also have a starting pitching void after AJ Burnett retired, The Bucs also need to fill a utility spot and a 4th outfielder.
Addressing those needs will eat up some of that money.
Walker could be a different story depending on the health of Jung Ho Kang.
It would be more likely the Pirates will try to hold onto Walker for one more season if Kang isn't ready to go by the start of the season. Hurdle did say Kang's rehab is right on pace. It's thought he should be healthy by April, no later than May.
Hurdle also discussed with KDKA-TV the possibility of changing the wildcard playoff format, saying, "I do think the conversation needs to be had to see if there is a better way to do it".
Hurdle managed the Pirates to the 2nd best record in the MLB last season, "I love what I'm doing and I love where I'm doing it. Isn't it much better than where it was, but we are still not where we want be".
Maybe next season Hurdle and the Pirates will be there.
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