Pirates' Karstens might be on arbitration bubble
The Pirates must decide by midnight tonight whether to tender new contracts to their five remaining arbitration-eligible players -- outfielder Lastings Milledge, shortstop Ronny Cedeno and pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan and Jeff Karstens -- and it would appear Karstens is the only one on the bubble.
By tendering an offer, the team retains its rights to the player and commits to going through the arbitration process. The team and player can settle amicably at any point. If they do not, each side submits a proposed salary figure Jan. 18. An arbitrator then decides the salary during a hearing, with those being conducted Feb. 1-21.
Karstens, 28, went 3-10 with a 4.92 ERA in 26 appearances, including 19 starts, but there also were stretches in which he was the best of an abysmal rotation. The Pirates envision him as a long reliever and emergency starter going into 2011.
Karstens made $475,000 last year, and arbitration probably would take him into the $1 million range. The Pirates approached his agent last week to try to negotiate a settlement.
Neal Huntington, the Pirates' general manager, told the Post-Gazette on Tuesday, "We will refrain from additional comments on our arbitration-eligible players until after the deadline has passed."
Karstens and Cedeno will be second-time eligible for arbitration; the rest are first-timers.
NOTES -- The Pirates made a competitive offer for free-agent pitcher Jorge De La Rosa before he re-signed Monday with the Colorado Rockies for three guaranteed years and $31.5 million. It is not known if the offer was higher or lower. ... The Pirates signed three minor league free agents -- pitcher Fernando Nieve, infielder Andy Marte and catcher Dusty Brown -- with invitations to spring training. Nieve, 28, had a 6.00 ERA in 40 appearances, one start, with the New York Mets last season. Marte, 27, once was the top prospect in the Atlanta and Boston systems, but his numbers over six major-league seasons are a .218 average, .277 on-base percentage and 20 home runs. Brown, 28, broke into the majors in 2009 with Boston and, in 13 games over the past two seasons with the Red Sox, batted .267 with a .313 on-base percentage and one home run. ... There now are five non-roster invitees, along with relievers Justin Thomas and Sean Gallagher.
First Published December 2, 2010 12:00 am