According to Rob Biertempfel and Dejan Kovacevic, both of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pittsburgh Pirates have non-tendered starting pitcher Jeff Karstens.
Karstens had his injuries last season that caused the Pirates enough concern to not offer the contract. He was also arbitration eligible and from there it could be more than that, although projections ranged from $3.8 to $4.5 million.
For me, Karstens had his fate sealed earlier this week when the Pirates acquired Vin Mazzaro. Mazzaro serves a similar purpose to what Karstens has served with the Pirates. With the signing of free-agent catcher Russell Martin and likely no takers in the trade department, the Pirates believed that they no longer required Karstens’ services.
The team still has a chance to sign Karstens for a cheaper amount, and they very well may, but I find it unlikely.
Fans were mostly pro-Karstens in this matter and I can understand why.
If this conversation happened after the 2011 season then the decision would have been easy. Karstens had a career year in 2011, however he also pitched more innings than ever before, but even resting him down the stretch could not prevent the injuries that plagued him in 2012.
Karstens is a great person who did so much for the community, but this is a baseball decision and ultimately I agree with it. He went 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA last season with a WHIP of 1.15 and WAR of 0.6.
According to reports, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington tried to re-sign Karstens but that did not work out and neither did attempts to trade him and thus his release. Huntington does not rule out re-signing him later in the offseason. Technically, Karstens has been designated for assignment until midnight when he will be released.
Karstens has tweeted the following: “Just want to thank everyone for all there tweets! It means a lot to have you bucco fans still wishing me well. I loved wearing that that P! You never know what may happen! I could come back…but to all my teammates I wish you and fans of Pittsburgh nothing but the best! And please don’t believe everything you read. I can tell you it’s not all true! #OnceaBuccoAlwaysaBucco”
Meanwhile ESPN’s Buster Olney reports a rumor that the Pirates are shopping Joel Hanrahan to, among other teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The rumors have been confirmed by sources close to the Dodgers organization and have the Pirates receiving lefty Chris Capuano.
Capuano was a free agent last season and signed with the Dodgers posting a 12-12 season and 3.72 ERA. His WHIP was 1.22 and he had a WAR of 1.8.
Fans may not like this straight up trade but need to remember that Hanrahan has one year left and that will lower his value.
To me, I do not like the deal for the Dodgers since they already have a back end of the bullpen which includes Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen and Brandon League who just signed a three-year deal to stay with the team.
While the move may help the Pirates in the short term and competing in 2013, the Pirates should remain patient and look for a better deal if they wish to trade their all-star closer.