Jeff Karstens Rumors

Notable Non-Tendered Players

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.

National League Non-Tenders

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.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Non-Tender Possible For Karstens

Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens is a non-tender candidate following an injury plagued season, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Karstens has missed time with shoulder, groin and hip injuries this year, though he has pitched well when healthy.

“Jeff gives you everything he has every time he gets the ball,” GM Neal Huntington said.

Huntington said “it’s a bit early” to reveal what role Karstens will have on the 2013 team. The GM did not seem enthused while discussing Karstens’ chances of winning a rotation spot next year, Biertempfel writes. This could indicate that the 30-year-old will be non-tendered this December when the Pirates must decide whether to offer contracts to eligible players.

Karstens earned $3.1MM in 2012 and would obtain a modest raise if Pittsburgh tenders him a contract this coming offseason. When healthy, Karstens posted a 3.97 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 90 2/3 innings, mostly as a starter.



NL Central Notes: Hart, Carpenter, Pirates

The Brewers continue their push for the second NL Wild Card spot as they look to win their series against Mets this afternoon at Miller Park. However, they will have to do so without Corey Hart. Hart has been sidelined for the last six games since he partially tore the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, in his left foot a week ago. Hart did running drills this morning, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, and all did not go well. Hart, who was able to run in a straight line but suffered discomfort when making stops and turns, said, "It’s a little frustrating. Today was the first day I tried to run the bases, and it didn’t go as planned.” Elsewhere from the NL Central:


Stark On Marlins, Phillies, Dodgers, Garza, Twins

Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark

  • One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
  • Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
  • The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
  • Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
  • The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
  • Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
  • In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
  • The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
  • The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
  • The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official. 
  • The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis

Quick Hits: Braves, Pirates, Rockies, Nationals

The Marlins ended their franchise record offensive draught of scoring five runs or less for 25 consecutive games in their 9-0 win over the Blue Jays. And, for good measure, the nine runs were a season-high for the Marlins, who ended their six-game losing streak. Here's the latest news from around baseball.

  • The Braves could make starting pitching a priority at the trade deadline because of the growing pains of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado and the uncertainty surrounding Jair Jurrjens, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
  • The Pirates need to create an opening in their starting rotation when Jeff Karstens returns from the disabled list this week and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review thinks a trade could create that opening (via Sulia). Biertempfel reported yesterday the Pirates are shopping Kevin Correia.
  • With the Pirates looking for offensive help, the Denver Post's Troy Renck notes the Rockies have players available, including Marco Scutaro. In the same piece, Renck offers his suggestions on who the Rockies should play the rest of the way in 2012, so as to best prepare for 2013.
  • The Nationals are not willing to pay a fine in order to exceed their draft bonus pool, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This is a corection to a story Kilgore wrote yesterday. Kilgore writes this stance will lower the amount the Nationals will be able to offer their first round draft pick Lucas Giolito.
  • Condolences to the friends of family of Padres' bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today.  He was 50.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:

(more…)


Pirates Notes: Cedeno, Karstens, Non-Tenders

The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Karstens, signing both players to one-year contracts.  MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch has the contract details.  Cedeno will earn a $1.85MM base in 2011, and has a club option for '12 that includes significant incentives based on starts.  Karstens will earn $1.1MM next year.   

Cedeno is the incumbent starter at shortstop, though the Pirates are known to be looking for help at the position.  The veteran has played mostly shortstop over the last two years, but has also played second, third and the outfield in his career.  Cedeno has a .682 OPS in 672 plate appearances as a Pirate.

Karstens came to the Bucs in July 2008 as part of the trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees.  In 74 appearances (41 of them starts) for Pittsburgh, Karstens has posted a 4.95 ERA and a 1.73 K/BB ratio.  As Biertempfel pointed out in his longer article, Karstens' $1.1MM salary for 2011 is almost triple what he earned last season.

Other news from Biertempfel…

  • Infielder Argenis Diaz, outfielder Lastings Milledge and left-handers Brian Burres and Donald Veal were all non-tendered by the Bucs, but the club wants to re-sign Burres and Veal.  Diaz "is unlikely to return."
  • Milledge could be welcomed back "if we think it's the right fit for the team, and he thinks it's the right fit for him," said Neal Huntington.  The Pirates GM said he couldn't work out a contract with Milledge before the non-tender deadline and "began to explore alternatives" to fill Milledge's corner outfield spot.  Two options are Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, both of whom were non-tendered themselves by the A's and Braves, respectively.

Kepner’s Latest: Astros’ Future, Jackson, Pirates

Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has some odds and ends from around the baseball universe; let's take a look at some of the highlights:

  • The trades of players like Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt signify that the Astros have finally moved on and are looking ahead. Wandy Rodriguez is the only remaining player who played in the 2005 World Series with the club.
  • General manager Ed Wade refuted speculation that he prefers to trade with the Phillies, the team for which he served as general manager from 1998-2005. Instead, he simply says that the Phillies provided the best offers to improve the Astros. Wade has traded both Oswalt and Brad Lidge to Philadelphia.
  • Wade praises first-year manager Brad Mills for keeping the Astros focused after a 17-34 start to the season. Houston went 17-12 in August and has recently swept both the Phillies and Cardinals.
  • Edwin Jackson is happy to be in Chicago on a fresh start. “It’s like a new season,” Jackson said. Earlier today we heard that Daniel Hudson, one of the players the Diamondbacks received in the deal, is experiencing similar enjoyment in Arizona.
  • Kepner points out that the pitchers acquired from the Yankees in recent years haven't panned out for the Pirates. Ross Ohlendorf has experienced some success, but Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen have both disappointed. All three came to Pittsburgh in the trade for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady. It's worth pointing out that the other component of that trade was Jose Tabata, who has played very well in his first taste of the big leagues this year.

Robinzon Diaz Becomes A Free Agent

The Pirates designated catcher Robinzon Diaz for assignment on Friday, and now according to a team press release he has cleared waivers and been unconditionally released.  The 26-year-old catcher hit .279/.307/.357 in 138 plate appearances for the Pirates this year, catching 283 innings.

The press release also notes that recently-designated players Jeff Karstens and Justin Thomas cleared waivers and have been outrighted to Triple A.