Found November 30, 2012 on
Raise the Jolly Roger!:
The Pirates are indeed going to non-tender Jeff Karstens. Jeff was entering his third arbitration year and was projected to make around $4 million. Instead, the Bucs are allowing him to become a free agent. His departure clears space on the roster for Russell Martin, who was officially signed today.
This move doesn’t make sense to me. Karstens has shown to be a very reliable starter/long reliever during his time for the Pirates, which spanned parts of five seasons. Obviously he’s no ace or anything like that, but to me he was a steady middle-of-the-rotation presence that gives the team a good chance to win every time he takes the mound . His numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away but in 2011 and 2012 he improved quite a bit, posting a 3.59 ERA over 41 starts.
The decision to let Karstens go comes down to two things: cost and health. Karstens missed two months early in the season with shoulder inflammation, then missed another couple of weeks after a hip flexor problem in late August. The injury forced him out of this strong performance against the Brewers in the seventh inning, but he insisted he was fine afterwards. Jeff made his next start on the road against the Brewers and got shelled–it was apparent that he wasn’t really ready to pitch. He hit the DL, but even when he returned and was healthy the Pirates essentially ignored him for the rest of the year, sticking him in the bullpen while giving starts to Kevin Correia, Jeff Locke, and Kyle McPherson.
As the non-tender rumors started to swirl this offseason, the thought seemed to be that his injury concerns or lack of durability would be the cause. To me, if he’s completely healthy now, I don’t understand why the Pirates wouldn’t take a risk on him. $4 million or so is good value even if he does miss some time…heck, the Pirates gave $5 million to Erik Bedard last year using that exact mentality. I do think it’s worthwhile to note that the Pirates doctors/staff know about Karstens’ arm/shoulder/hip/whatever better than anybody else right now and they could have easily seen something that led to this decision. For the Pirates’ sake (not Jeff’s–he’s a great guy and I wish him well) I hope that is the case, because if not this seems like a very poor decision to me.
Taking Karstens out of the equation leaves the Pirates’ rotation like this: A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald, Locke, and McPherson. Gerrit Cole is lurking in Indy, but won’t start the season in the Burgh. Even assuming Cole can make it up relatively soon, the rotation is going to need some work, and the non-tender of Karstens (following yesterday’s hefty investment into Russell Martin) leaves doubt as to whether or not the Bucs will spend to address it. Starting pitching is expensive and the 2013 payroll already looks like it’ll be around $65M as things stand now (most don’t expect it to top $70M). Again, maybe there was something with Karstens the Pirates didn’t like and maybe they have plans to invest heavily in an upgrade. There’s a lot of offseason left and it’s silly to judge everything before the Bucs get a chance to replace him (a lot of folks weren’t happy about declining Paul Maholm‘s option last year, but that was later offset by the additions of Bedard and Burnett), but I think the Pirates have made things harder on themselves here.
PHOTO: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
BEST OF MAXIM
Much of the deliberation over whether or not Russell Martin deserves the two-year, $17.5 million contract he pulled in from the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday will hinge on how his defense is viewed. Martin has been measured as a tremendous pitch framer, and for many that will be enough to put a notch in the team-friendly side for this contract. But what about his arm Martin threw...
Earlier today I wrote my “First Pitch” article, titled “Why the Pirates Shouldn’t Sign Russell Martin”. I spent some time taking a deep look at Martin, and looking at the Pirates’ situation. I had it all set up to post at midnight. Then the Pirates signed Martin to a two year, $17 M deal. Nothing really changed with my thoughts below, except for the fact that the move...
The Pittsburgh Pirates were reportedly hot in pursuit of former Yankees catcher Russell Martin, and for two years and $17 million, Martin is now a Pirate.
Martin, who will turn 30 this coming February, made $7.5 million with the Yankees this past season, his second with the club. In 133 games, he had 21 homers and a .211/.311/.403 line, providing 2.2 wins above replacement for...
A few updates on Russell Martin today.
**Yesterday we heard a report that the Pirates offered $25 M over three years. Later we heard that amount was high. George A. King III of The New York Post says that the Pirates offered two years initially, then moved to a three year, $22 M offer.
**Daniel Rathman of Baseball Prospectus looks at Russell Martin’s value (subscription required...
As you may have noticed, I (Jason) have been attempting to write more here on good ol' TPA. I owe Bill and Mike a lot and I haven't really been handling my obligations lately. Tonight, though, I had to spend five hours proofreading a book for my wife, so I was unable to write a blog post. What follows is the post that she wrote for me. (I'm not kidding.)
According to everyone on earth the Pirates have signed Russell Martin to a two year deal worth $17 million. The Pirates were rumored to be heavily interested in Martin and were said to have offered him three years earlier this week. It seems the fanbase is pretty split on this deal. Most of what I’ve [...]
The Pittsburgh Pirates have made the Russell Martin signing official via a team press release. The release includes the following quote from Neal Huntington.
“With the signing of Russell Martin, we have acquired a quality defensive catcher who is a disciplined hitter that adds power to our lineup,” said Huntington. “He also brings experience, leadership and a strong desire...
The New York Yankees were in no hurry to re-sign catcher Russell Martin. The Pittsburgh Pirates swept in when they had the chance.
A person with knowledge of the deal says the Pirates have agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with the three-time All-Star, hoping he can give them some pop at the plate and respectable defense behind it.
The deal is pending a physical. The person...
Russell Martin, le Bête Magnifique Quebecois -- is no longer a Yankee. The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with the three-time All-Star -- ripping him away from...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
After being a rock behind the plate for the Yankees for two seasons, Russell Martin has decided to leave for the Steel City. Earlier tonight, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports broke the story that Martin and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a two-year deal worth $17 million.
In two seasons with the Yanks, Martin hit .224 with 39 homers and 118 RBIs. He also worked well with the rotation...
Source: #Pirates reach agreement with Russell Martin, pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 30, 2012
After some talk about a three-year deal yesterday, it appears that the terms between the Pirates and Martin are two years and $17 million. I was really, really harsh on the idea of signing Martin yesterday, but both Martin and my main issues with signing...
As per Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Pirates have reached terms with Russell Martin, pending a physical. We will continue to flesh this out with more details about the terms of the deal as they become available.