Munchak fine, but can’t let ego get in way

PITTSBURGH – Mike Munchak was in town on Friday to interview for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line coach job.

Munchak has been making the rounds since he was fired after three seasons as head coach of the Tennessee Titans.

While Munchak would undoubtedly be a good addition to the Steelers staff, is he ready to make the transition to a subordinate role after running his own program?

After all, he’s looking at moving two steps down from the job he had previously. A position coach has two bosses, the head coach and the coordinator.

It could be that Munchak is fine with surrendering that kind of control. It’s something the Steelers would have to be certain about before offering him the job.

There’s no evidence that Mike Tomlin is hard to work for (as Bill Cowher was in his early days), but it can be a blow to a coach’s ego when he steps back to take a lesser position.

That would have to be a consideration if the Steelers are interested in hiring Munchak.

Rising prices

The Pittsburgh Pirates have settled all their potential arbitration cases, avoiding hearings.

That’s the best way to do business for both sides. The players never lose in these cases. They always get a raise. The issue is how much they’ll get.

Neil Walker took a big jump, going from $3.3 million to $5.7 million. He’ll be making even bigger leaps in the coming years, which means the Pirates face a tough decision on him.

To this point, Walker has been a good solid major league player. He hasn’t been a star. He’s a complementary player rather than someone around whom a lineup is built.

What kind of price tag does that merit? Walker would prefer to stay in Pittsburgh, and he has obvious value to the Pirates.

The question is whether they can find a middle ground on a salary scale for a multi-year contract. Walker isn’t inclined to offer a home town discount, and he’s not obligated to do so. Nor are the Pirates required to sign him at a premium price because his local roots have some secondary promotional value.

Zip code is the worst reason to sign a player.

Meanwhile, it couldn’t have been a happy day at Pirates headquarters when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a new deal that will pay him an average of $30 million per season.

Prices keep going up, with no end in sight.

If Gerrit Cole develops into a top of the rotation starter, will he be a $20 million pitcher in another four or five years?

Mehno can be reached at