The Pittsburgh Pirates reached agreements on 2013 contracts with second baseman Neil Walker and right-hander James McDonald on Thursday, avoiding arbitration. Walker and McDonald were the last two salary arbitration eligible players for Pittsburgh. The Pirates had previously agreed to contracts with Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez and Charlie Morton.
Walker hit .280 with 14 home runs and 69 RBIs in 129 games last season but missed significant time because of a back injury. The 27-year-old Pittsburgh native made $500,000 in 2012 and was arbitration eligible for the first time this winter and had asked for $3.6 million as a Super Two player. The Pirates offered $3 million
McDonald went 12-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2012 but struggled for most of the second half. McDonald made $502,500 last year. McDonald asked for $3.4 million and the Pirates filed $2.65 million. McDonald pitch to a 7.52 ERA and walked 38 batters in 61 innings after the All-Star break and was eventually removed from the rotation by manager Clint Hurdle. McDonald is expected to be the team’s third starter in 2013 behind A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez.