Much was made about the decision that Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and the rest of the Pirates front office made when they decided to non-tender Jeff Karstens.
While I didn’t disagree with the move at the time, the fact that the organization has not replaced him with a quality arm has turned me to thinking it was a mistake, even at a salary of $4.5 million.
But the main reason I didn’t have a problem with the decision is the fact that Huntington was adamant that the organization did everything it could to keep Karstens in a Pirates uniform, but Karstens wouldn’t have any part of it.
Huntington said at Pirate Fest over the weekend:
We worked hard to reach a pre-tender agreement with Jeff for a lesser amount than what we felt his arbitration value was. We weren’t able to do it. We then worked hard to trade Jeff for a player and get something in return instead of non-tendering the player, [and] you get nothing in return. We weren’t able to do it. We then tried to work to find a cash value for Jeff instead of a player, whether it was a waiver claim fee, or something higher. We weren’t able to do that. And so we felt like our best option at that point in time was to disengage, to non-tender him, to continue to have dialogue with Jeff. So I don’t want to beat up Jeff too much, because we are still trying to bring him back. But we felt that, at $4 million, it was too high of a cost for us.
That statement is something the Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic basically called a flat out lie on Twitter, citing the fact that the Pirates never made an offer to Karstens at all.
Huntington telling crowd right now that Pirates “tried to bring” Karstens back. This is false. Never made an offer. Not guessing here.
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) December 15, 2012
That false statement was confirmed by Karstens on 93.7 The Fan’s Seibel, Starkey and Miller Show on Wednesday.
Karstens told the hosts that no contract offer was ever made and that the organization did not approach him about trying to come back before non-tendering him.
The Pirates organization has unfortunately ruined the trust in fans and media members alike by hiding facts, such as Neal Huntington’s and John Russell’s extensions in the past. They’ve basically lied to the fan base at times, so it is hard to give Huntington and company the benefit of the doubt here.
Which begs the question of why lie in the first place?
What do they get out of it except look worse in the public’s eye?
Would it have been so difficult to come out and say “We made a baseball decision not to tender Karstens,” or something along those lines?
Sure Karstens was liked by a majority of Pirates fans, but we are talking bout fourth or fifth starter here. No one would have been that upset about it.
But now, whether Huntington lied or not, the Pirates once again look awful. Judging by the way they have operated in the past, you just can’t ignore the fact that they probably did so again.
One day this management team will figure out the proper way to act, not only for the people in the organization, but for their declining fan base as well.
Until that day comes, the Karstens saga is just another in a long series of sad operating procedures from this current group.