Jeff Karstens Rumors

Quick Hits: Santana, Karstens, Mulder, Athletics

The signing of Omar Infante and Jason Vargas took up the money the Royals had earmarked to re-sign Ervin Santana, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links), and thus with the club at its payroll limit, there is only a "remote" chance of K.C. bringing Santana back on even a one-year deal at a bargain price.  The Tigers, Diamondbacks and Mariners are a few of the teams that have been linked to Santana this offseason, though we probably won't know the full extent of his market (and the market for other top free agent starters) until Masahiro Tanaka's situation has been settled.

Here's some more from around baseball…

  • Jeff Karstens' agent Damon Lapa tells MLBTR's Zach Links that he expects at least a dozen clubs to be in attendance for Karstens' upcoming showcase.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that Karstens will throw in January and Lapa indicated to MLBTR that he'll be auditioning in the "mid-to-late" portion of next month.  Lapa won't say what kind of deal he's seeking for his client but he did say that the 31-year-old is "100% healthy."
  • The Giants checked in on Mark Mulderbut the short version is he’s looking for more than we could provide, including a Major League contract,” GM Brian Sabean told reporters, including CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly.  Mulder is attempting a comeback and threw for three teams last month.
  • Athletics owner Lew Wolff told John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group that the A's ownership group hasn't been approached by any interested buyers and Wolff reiterated that the team isn't for sale.  Wolff also said he didn't have any interest in a new ballpark proposal by the city of Oakland that would see a stadium constructed at the Howard Terminal waterfront site.
  • The Cardinals have finished their major offseason work, GM John Mozeliak told reporters (including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch).  The team will now look to add minor league depth and are prepared to be "opportunistic" if other ways of improving the roster present themselves, Mozeliak said.
  • Scott Boras will face a challenge in finding a big contract for Kendrys Morales considering the slugger's seemingly limited market, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi writes.
  • The Astros probably aren't done making moves and will look for some bargains in January and February, but GM Jeff Luhnow tells Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that he would already be satisfied with taking his current roster into Spring Training.  Luhnow also commented on his team's recent acquisitions of Jesus Guzman and Collin McHugh, though he didn't comment on rumors tying Houston to Shin-Soo Choo.
  • "The White Sox have quietly had a terrific offseason," ESPN.com's David Schoenfeld writes, praising GM Rick Hahn for adding the likes of Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson for what Schoenfeld feels were expendable pieces in Addison Reed and Hector Santiago.

Central Notes: Rincon, Twins, Viciedo, Konerko

The Twins announced a wave of front office promotions today, highlighted by the promotion of assistant GM Rob Antony to vice president/assistant GM. Antony will be responsible for Major League contracts (including arbitration); Major League and Minor League player evaluation; and oversight of the team's video, baseball analytics and baseball communications department. More from the Central divisions…

  • Former Twins reliever Juan Rincon is looking for a minor league deal with, ideally, an invite to big league spring training, agent Burton Rocks tells MLBTR.  Rincon, 35 in January, wants a club to bring him in to help mentor younger pitchers and have him continue in that role after his playing career is through as a scout.  Rocks has talked to "four or five" clubs about his unique proposal for Rincon, who spent last season with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League.  
  • The White Sox have an infusion of young, exciting position players including outfielders Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton and Paul Konerko is excited to be back in the fold and see what they can do. "Eaton is the guy that can make things go if he hits his stride," Konerko said on a conference call with White Sox season ticket holders, according to CSNChicago.com. "A guy like Eaton can be a someone who is a complete steal because of the tools he has. He can be a real mainstay."  Konerko re-signed with Chicago on a one-year deal that gives him a $2.5MM guarantee.
  • Dayan Viciedo could split time this season with Alejandro De Aza in left field, remain the starter if De Aza is moved, or he could wind up traded himself, writes CSNChicago.com's Dan Hayes.  The White Sox haven't given up on the 25-year-old, but they're not sure what they'll do with him either.
  • Jeff Karstens is said to be pain-free and in midst of normal winter throwing program. tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. He's planning to work out for clubs in January. Karstens had shoulder surgery in June, which involved debridement of his rotator cuff and labrum, and never threw a big league pitch for the Pirates in 2013.  The veteran is represented by All Bases Covered Sports Management, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.
  • The Twins were in on Eric Chavez before he signed with the Diamondbacks earlier today, a source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter).

Jeff Karstens Undergoes Shoulder Surgery

Pirates righty Jeff Karstens had shoulder surgery on Friday, which involved debridement of his rotator cuff and labrum, tweets Tom Singer of MLB.com.  The recovery period is 10-12 weeks, at which point Karstens could begin a throwing program.  The Pirates had transferred Karstens to the 60-day DL on May 27th.

Karstens, 30, will be eligible for free agency after the season.  Last year for the Bucs, he posted a 3.97 ERA in 90 2/3 innings, making 15 starts and four relief appearances.  He was non-tendered after the injury-plagued season, but re-signed for $2.5MM in January (down $600K from his 2012 salary).  Karstens recently switched agents, leaving Moye Sports Associates for All Bases Covered Sports Management.  With his 2013 season in question, a one-year deal seems likely for 2014, perhaps of the minor league variety.



Jeff Karstens Switches Agents

Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens has left Moye Sports Associates and is now represented by Damon Lapa and Scott Leventhal's All Bases Covered Sports Management, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).

Karstens was non-tendered by the Pirates last offseason despite a 3.59 ERA and a pristine 1.7 BB/9 rate in 253 innings from 2011-12. He re-signed with Pittsburgh on a one-year deal worth $2.5MM — a notable decrease from the $3.8MM salary that MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected he would have earned via arbitration. Durability issues seemed to be GM Neal Huntington's primary concerns, and sure enough, Karstens opened the season on the DL. He has yet to throw a pitch for the Pirates in 2013.

As shown in MLBTR's Agency Database, Lapa and Leventhal represent big leaguers such as Kevin Correia, Eric Chavez and David Robertson. Karstens is the second big league pitcher to change agents in as many days. Wei-Yin Chen left Octagon for the Boras Corporation last night.


Pirates Notes: Weiner, Karstens, Hawpe

Pirates pitchers combined to allow 15 walks during the Bucs' 16-6 loss to the Red Sox today in Grapefruit League action but Jameson Taillon was only responsible for one of those free passes.  The right-hander started the game and allowed just the lone walk and one hit over two innings of work, recording three strikeouts.  Taillon, the second overall pick of the 2010 draft, has an outside shot at a late-season callup if he continues to pitch well in the minors but probably won't see big league action until 2014 at the earliest.  The 21-year-old will get a step up in competition, however, while pitching for Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Here's the latest from the Steel City…

  • MLBPA head Michael Weiner tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he and the union are satisfied that the Pirates are doing all they can to compete.  “There were some concerns, and we expressed them. We had some meetings with (president) Frank Coonelly and others from the administration," Weiner said. "I think over the course of the last couple years, the Pirates have made a sincere effort to compete. Their payroll has increased and it projects to continue to increase."
  • Francisco Liriano's right arm injury paved the way for Jeff Karstens' return to the Pirates, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Liriano agreed to a contract with the Bucs in December but the deal wasn't finalized until February due to Liriano hurting his non-throwing arm.  Amidst this uncertainty over Liriano's health, the Pirates reached out to Karstens (who they non-tendered earlier this offseason) and signed him to a one-year deal.
  • Brad Hawpe talks to MLB.com's Tom Singer about trying to revive his career in Pittsburgh.  Singer reports that Hawpe can ask to be released from his minor league deal with the club on March 26 if he hasn't been added to the Pirates' Major League roster.

Pirates To Sign Jeff Karstens

The Pirates have agreed to sign right-hander Jeff Karstens to a one-year deal, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The deal with the Moye Sports Associates client is believed to be worth about $2.5MM, Brink adds. The agreement is pending a physical.

The Pirates non-tendered Karstens earlier in the offseason instead of going to arbitration with a projected $3.8MM salary. The 30-year-old drew interest from the Rockies while on the free agent market.

Karstens earned $3.1MM in 2012, but missed time with shoulder, groin and hip injuries. When healthy, he posted a 3.97 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 90 2/3 innings, mostly as a starter. GM Neal Huntington expressed confidence in Karstens soon after the regular season ended. “Jeff gives you everything he has every time he gets the ball,” the GM told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


Rosenthal On Padres, Orioles, Rockies, Phillies

The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…

  • Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
  • Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
  • The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
  • Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
  • Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
  • Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
  • The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.

Rockies Have Interest In Karstens; Open To Trades

The Rockies have expressed "mild interest" in Jeff Karstens, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Renck reiterates that the team also has some interest in Brandon Webb, plus they remain open to trades for pitching. They have not had conversations about free agents Derek Lowe or Aaron Cook, however.

The Pirates non-tendered Karstens in November rather than pay the 30-year-old right-hander a projected $3.8MM salary in 2013. He pitched to a 3.97 ERA with a 36.8% ground ball rate in 90 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season while missing time with shoulder and hip problems. Karstens posted a 3.38 ERA with 5.3 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, and a 46.2% ground ball rate in 162 2/3 innings in 2011.

The Rockies have been on the hunt for pitching this offseason after their staff produced an MLB-worst 5.22 ERA in 2012. So far this offseason they've re-signed Jeff Francis while trading for Wilton Lopez, though they've been connected to a number of free agents as well. Francis, Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, and Juan Nicasio represent Colorado's returning starters.


Rockies Links: Correia, Karstens, Cuddyer

Troy Renck of the Denver Post shared some Rockies items on his Twitter feed earlier today, here are the hot stove-related tweets…

  • The Rockies kept an "ongoing dialogue" with Kevin Correia's representatives but didn't come close to the two-year, $10MM deal that Correia signed with the Twins earlier today.
  • The Rockies have a "mild interest" in right-hander Jeff Karstens, who was non-tendered by the Pirates last month.  Karstens posted a 3.97 ERA and 4.4 K/BB ratio in 90 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh in 2012, though he spent significant time on the DL and was projected to earn $3.8MM through arbitration according to MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
  • From that same tweet, Renck feels that if the Rockies make a big move for pitching, it will be through a trade and not the free agent market.
  • Michael Cuddyer hasn't drawn much trade interest, though Renck says the Rockies aren't particularly interested in dealing him anyway.

East Notes: Wright, Dickey, Hamilton, Ichiro

Here's a look at the some of the news out of the AL and NL East: