Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington wouldn’t concede that Jeff Karstens is guaranteed a spot in next year’s starting rotation, leading Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to speculate that the right-hander could be a non-tender candidate this winter:
"As we do with every player in the organization, we’ll do a thorough analysis (of Karstens) and explore the fit on the team going forward, how he fits in the big picture," Huntington said.
Karstens entered the 2012 season with high expectations after his impressive 2011 campaign. Last year he maintained an ERA of 3.38 over 30 appearances, including 26 starts, spanning 162 1/3 innings.
Unfortunately for Karstens and the Pirates he’s been unable to stay healthy this season. The 30-year-old has missed time due to shoulder inflammation, a groin injury and a hip pointer. Biertempfel notes that he’s been sidelined by arm fatigue, hamstring strains, lower back issues and other shoulder problems in the past.
Karstens is earning $3.1 million this season and figures to be in line for roughly $4 million in the final year of arbitration this winter.