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Bucs cut arbitration list in half with two deals

First basemen Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez agreed to one-year contracts on Friday with the Pirates, who exchanged salary figures with two other players eligible for arbitration.

The Pirates and second baseman Neil Walker and right-handed starter James McDonald did the requisite exchanges at the deadline for submitting requests and offers for the process.

Walker proposed a $3.6 million salary for 2013, while the club proposed $3 million. Walker, who earned $500,000 in 2012, is eligible for his first crack at arbitration as a Super Two qualifier.

McDonald requested $3.4 million for 2013, and the club submitted an proposal of $2.65 million. McDonald earned $502,500 last season.

Hearings in front of a three-member arbitration panel will occur from Feb. 4-20, but the schedule isn't normally disclosed. If the Pirates cannot reach deals with Walker and McDonald before their hearings, the panel will choose either the player's proposal or the club's.

Jones, who was the only Bucs player to go through a hearing a year ago, signed for $4.5 million, according to a report by The Associated Press. Last February, the arbitration panel ruled in favor of the club in awarding Jones a salary of $2.25 million, which had been very close to his request for $2.5 million.

Sanchez's $1.75 million deal was announced by his agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council, early on in one of the busiest days on baseball's fiscal calendar, when typically dozens of contracts are struck in anticipation of that requirement.

Pittsburgh had entered the offseason with a total of eight arbitration-eligible players: Jeff Karstens had been non-tendered and days ago re-signed for $2.5 million; Charlie Morton also negotiated a new deal at $2 million; and relievers Joel Hanrahan and Chris Resop were both traded.

Sanchez earned a near-Major League minimum $483,000 last season, which he began with the Miami Marlins prior to his acquisition by the Pirates at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. In Pittsburgh, he batted .241 in 50 games.

As are Walker and McDonald, Sanchez was eligible for arbitration for the first time. Jones was getting his second opportunity to go through the process.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Garrett Jones, James McDonald, Gaby Sanchez, Neil Walker