Jeff Karstens Rumors
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's a look at the some of the news out of the AL and NL East:
- David Wright will undergo a physical tomorrow that will complete his $138MM contract extension with the Mets, a Major League source tells ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
- R.A. Dickey told reporters, including Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, he wants to remain a Met, "That’s 100 percent my hope. That being said, you never want to be taken advantage of."
- GM Dan Duquette says the Orioles are "probably not" going to be able to sign Josh Hamilton, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Duquette adds he has some money to spend, but not enough for Hamilton.
- Heyman tweeted Ichiro Suzuki is reaching out to other teams, possibly including the Phillies, although there is a strong belief he wants to return to the Yankees.
- The Yankees have a starting catcher and right fielder atop their shopping list, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
- Non-tendered pitchers Jair Jurrjens, Jeff Karstens, and John Lannan could interest the Orioles, writes the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina.
- The question is not if but when will the Rays make a trade to fill their holes at first base, DH, and the outfield, opines Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- Earlier today, we learned the Yankees and Red Sox both have interest in free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.
The non-tender deadline passed at midnight ET last night, and more than 30 new free agents hit the open market after their teams declined to make a contract offer. Our Non-Tender Tracker has the full list.
Most non-tendered players are fringe roster guys, but a few are established big leaguers who may have seen their performance slip or battled injury. In all cases, the team didn't consider him to be worth his expected salary in the upcoming season. Here's a look at some of this year's most notable non-tenders.
- Jair Jurrjens - Still just 26, Jurrjens is one year removed from a 2.96 ERA in 152 innings. He's battled numerous injuries (including right knee surgery) and pitched so poorly earlier this year that he was sent to Triple-A. That said, the combination of age and past performance gives Jurrjens some of the highest upside on the free agent market.
- Jeff Karstens - Karstens, 30, was limited to just 90 2/3 innings this year due to shoulder and hip problems, but he's pitched to a 3.59 ERA with a 1.7 BB/9 in 253 innings since the start of last year.
- John Lannan - The Nationals didn't have a place for Lannan this year, so the 28-year-old spent most of the season in Triple-A despite a $5MM salary. The left-hander has thrown at least 180 innings in each of the last five seasons, so he adds a reliable southpaw to a free agent class surprisingly short on that type of pitcher.
- Mark Reynolds - Power is hard to find these days, and the 29-year-old Reynolds hit 37 home runs just a year ago. He dipped to .221/.335/.429 with 23 homers this year, though he did produce a .258/.374/.525 line with 20 homers in 353 plate appearances from early-May through early-September. Although his best position is first base, a power-starved team could give Reynolds a look at third base given the shallow free agent pool.
- Geovany Soto - The free agent catching market is weak, especially now that Russell Martin has signed with the Pirates, so the 29-year-old Soto could become a popular target in short order. He hit just .198/.270/.343 in 361 plate appearances this year, but a year ago he put up a respectable .228/.310/.411 line with 17 homers. Enough teams need catching help that Soto should have little trouble finding a new employer.
- Brian Wilson - It's been two years since Wilson, 30, was truly dominant. He's coming off his second Tommy John surgery and posted a 3.11 ERA in 55 innings last season while his strikeout (8.8 K/9) and walk (5.1 BB/9) rates took big hits, but teams do love to roll the dice on formerly elite closers coming off down seasons and/or injury. Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle hears Wilson was upset after being non-tendered and has told people he will not re-sign with the Giants.
- Other non-tendered players like Scott Atchison, Tom Gorzelanny, Mike Pelfrey (coming off Tommy John surgery), and Nate Schierholtz have proven useful in various roles and figure to be relatively popular targets as free agents.
Here are today’s National League non-tenders. All decisions must be in by 11pm CT tonight. Be sure to track all tender decisions using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. Related resources include our list of non-tender candidates, our projected arbitration salaries and our arbitration eligibles series.
- The Diamondbacks have non-tendered Wil Nieves according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter).
- In addition to John Lannan, the Nationals have also non-tendered Tom Gorzelanny and Jesus Flores according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The Cubs have non-tendered Ian Stewart, Jaye Chapman, and Zach Putnam according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter).
- The Padres have non-tendered left-hander Juan Oramas, the team announced. He had Tommy John surgery this summer and is expected to miss the start of next season.
- The Mets also non-tendered Andres Torres and Manny Acosta, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Mike Pelfrey has been informed he'll be non-tendered by the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The Mets were expected to non-tender Pelfrey.
- The Braves will non-tender Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan.
- The Phillies plan to non-tender Nate Schierholtz, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Pirates will non-tender Jeff Karstens, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (on Twitter). Technically the Pirates are designating Karstens for assignment, Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). The team confirmed the move.
- The Brewers have non-tendered left-hander Manny Parra, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (on Twitter).
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.