Pirates reach deadline by signing two, cutting four
The Pirates had until 11:59 on Thursday to decide whether to tender/non tender a contract for 2011 to Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Ronny Cedeno and Lastings Milledge.
Pittsburgh originally had nine players that were facing arbitration this offseason. Wil Ledezma was signed to a one-year deal, while Zach Duke (who has signed a one-year deal plus a mutual option for 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks), Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young were designated for assignment and removed from the roster.
Jeff Karstens agreed to a one-year $1.1 million contract for 2011 (He made $457,000 last year). Karstens went 3-10 with a 4.92 ERA during 19 starts with the Pirates (26 appearances) through 122.1 innings. It is uncertain whether Karstens will remain a starter for 2011 or if he will be used out of the bullpen as long relief.
Ronny Cedeno agreed to a one-year deal which includes and club option for 2012. He batted .256 with eight home runs and 38 RBI with the Pirates in 2010. “We have identified upgrading our infield defense as a top priority and are working aggressively to accomplish that upgrade,’ Frank Coonelly said on Thursday afternoon. The Pirates are rumored to be interested in J.J Hardy and Jason Bartlett and will continue to explore options. Cedeno could be used in a trade or as a utility infielder if the right guy is found. “He has the ability to play the position,” Huntington said. “He shows flashes of the defense. He shows flashes of the offense. At some point in time, the consistency is either going to come or it’s not going to come. There are stretches of time where we feel like it’s just about there, and then we have some games that are less than ideal.”
Ross Ohlendorf was tendered a contract. He had a few stints on the disabled list and was considered a “very unlucky pitcher” in 2010 (referring to his 1-11 record and 4.07 ERA).
Joel Hanrahan was tendered a contract. He finished the 2010 season with a 3.62 ERA and six saves. Hanrahan also struck out 100 batters (a career high) in 69.2 innings.
Lastings Milledge was non-tendered by the Bucs, making him a free-agent. Milledge batted .277 with four home runs and 34 RBI (.320 AVG against lefties) His below average offense along with his lack of power were both concerns of the Pirates.
General Manager Neal Huntington: “We spent a lot of time analyzing Lastings Milledge as compared with the potential alternatives for the expected role and determined it was worth further exploration of the alternatives. We remain open to continuing dialogue with Lastings.”
Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal and Brian Burres were also non-tendered by the Bucs, becoming free-agents.
Huntington on Donnie Veal: “Everything is on schedule with Donnie’s rehabilitation. We made a tough business decision, but we are optimistic we will be able to re-sign Donnie.”