Who Will Be Tendered an Offer Tomorrow?

Tomorrow night at midnight is the deadline to tender contracts for the 2013 season. Any player who does not have a contract — arbitration eligible players and players with 1-3 years of service time — must be tendered an offer by the deadline, or be non-tendered. If a player is non-tendered, he immediately becomes a free agent.

The tender deadline isn’t a big deal for guys making the league minimum. Those guys are usually automatic tenders. The focus is more on the arbitration eligible players, as those are the guys who are at the biggest risk of being non-tendered. Here is a rundown of the arbitration eligibles for the Pirates, with some observations on their chances of getting an offer.

Neil Walker

Contract Status: Super Two

Projected Salary: $2,900,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 100%

Why He Will Be Tendered: I don’t think I need to go into detail here.


James McDonald

Contract Status: First Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $3,000,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 100%

Why He Will Be Tendered: McDonald had an amazing first half and a horrible second half. The argument to non-tender him puts too much focus on the second half. The fact that the numbers were so good in the first half means he’s a guarantee to be tendered. You don’t non-tender a guy like that. You bring him back and work to make those numbers last a full season.


Gaby Sanchez

Contract Status: First Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $1,800,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 100%

Why He Will Be Tendered: I’ve seen a few people speculate that Sanchez isn’t a guarantee to be tendered, especially with the addition of Clint Robinson. First, I’ll note that Robinson doesn’t change anything. The Pirates had Jeff Clement, Matt Hague, and guys like Jeff Larish, Nick Evans, Andy Fox, and other first basemen in Triple-A last year. Hague has been designated for assignment, and the other guys are gone. Matt Curry should make the jump to Indianapolis. Even if Hague returns, they can play Hague (3B), Robinson (DH/1B), and Curry (1B/DH) with ease. Robinson will only factor into the first base depth, but won’t impact the chances of Sanchez or Garrett Jones.

As for Sanchez, I put him at 100% because the Pirates aren’t going to deal a first round pick for him, watch him put up numbers similar to his 2010/2011 campaigns, then non-tender him to save under $2 M.


Charlie Morton

Contract Status: Second Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $2,600,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 50%

Why He Could Be Tendered: Prior to his injury, Morton showed some promise in 2011. The club invested a lot of time into him, so it would be a bit of a surprise to see them non-tender him.

Why He Might Not Be Tendered: He had Tommy John surgery in June, and the recovery was said to be 12-18 months. Best case, he’s back in the majors by mid-season. Worst case, he misses the whole year. The Pirates might not want to pay $2.6 M to someone who could miss the entire year, and who would only be playing half a season in the best case scenario.

What the Pirates Should Do: They should try to work out a deal with Morton, or an agreement to non-tender him and sign him to a minor league deal. The risk with the latter is that another team could jump in and sign him. If they tender him an offer, they’re basically looking forward to 2014, with hopes that he can contribute at some point in 2013. Trying to keep Morton is the way to go, considering how well he pitched in 2011.


Garrett Jones

Contract Status: Second Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $4,400,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 100%

Why He Will Be Tendered: See my comments on Gaby Sanchez for how Clint Robinson could impact Jones. I don’t think Jones gets non-tendered. He was one of the best hitters on the team last year. Also, the Pirates have had plenty of opportunities to trade him, and they’ve refused. The Angels seem to ask about him every year. I think he gets tendered, but I could also see him being dealt in the off-season. That wouldn’t be a bad move. He had a great season in 2012, but I think we can expect more of the 2010/2011 numbers. Trading Jones this off-season would be selling high on someone who best fits in a platoon situation.


Chris Resop

Contract Status: Second Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $1,300,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 20%

Why He Might Not Be Tendered: Resop isn’t a bad reliever, but I could see this situation being like Jose Veras last year. The Pirates have plenty of bullpen options, and recently added two guys (Vin Mazzaro, Zach Stewart) who could fit in the mix. I don’t see them paying $1.3 M to a middle reliever when they already have more options than spots. Most of those options are just as good as Resop.

What the Pirates Should Do: Try to make a Veras trade for a guy who is about to be non-tendered elsewhere. That didn’t work out so well when they got Casey McGehee for Veras, but the expectations should be low when you’re trading a guy who you’d otherwise release, and getting a guy who is in the same situation with another team.


Joel Hanrahan

Contract Status: Third Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $6,900,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 100%

Why He Will Be Tendered: If the Pirates don’t want to pay $7 M for a closer, they could easily trade Hanrahan. I’d actually be surprised if they went into Spring Training with Hanrahan as the closer, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be non-tendered.


Jeff Karstens could be non-tendered tomorrow. Image Credit: Pittsburgh Pirates

Jeff Karstens

Contract Status: Third Year of Arbitration

Projected Salary: $3,800,000

Chance of Being Tendered: 50%

Why He Could Be Tendered: In the last two years he’s combined for a 3.59 ERA in 253 innings, with a 5.8 K/9 and a 1.7 BB/9 ratio.

Why He Might Not Be Tendered: He hasn’t been the most reliable pitcher. Last year injuries limited him to 90.2 innings. In 2010 he only had 122.2 innings, although he started off in the bullpen that year. His career high was 162.1 innings in 2011. There has also been speculation that the additions of Mazzaro and Stewart could make it more likely that Karstens gets non-tendered. It definitely made that seem more likely in my mind. Based on all the speculation, the 50% chance above might be high.

What the Pirates Should Do: Already this off-season we’ve seen the Cubs sign Scott Baker to a one year, $5.5 M deal with $1.5 M in incentives. Baker is a better pitcher than Karstens, but he’s also coming off Tommy John surgery and won’t be ready for the start of the season. The Cubs are obviously paying Baker for the time he will be healthy, rather than focusing on the time he will miss. The Pirates should do the same with Karstens. Look at his numbers above. The Pirates need pitching, and they’re not going to find someone who could put up better numbers, especially for $3.8 M. This is a team that signed Erik Bedard for $4.5 M, even though his injury history suggested he’d only make 15 starts. Bedard ended up exceeding that (and the results weren’t there for most of those starts), but the point is they’ve invested in an injury prone guy in the past.  Even if Karstens only can make 15 starts, that would be huge with his numbers from the last two years. The Pirates would have to pay two or three times as much to get a guy who could put up Karstens-numbers in 30 starts. Even if they don’t want him, there’s got to be a team that would want him at his projected price. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Karstens, but non-tendering a guy who looks like a value on this market would be a really bad idea.

On a side note, it will be interesting to see how the outcomes compare with Morton and Karstens. Morton is guaranteed to miss half the year. There’s only a risk of Karstens missing time. You’d think that if Karstens gets non-tendered due to his durability concerns, Morton would also be non-tendered.

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Dk is reporting on twitter that Karstens has been non-tendered.


Well done Tim; and I agree with all the suggestions; except I disagree that Baker is a better pitcher than Karstens. I’d bet that if Karstens goes elsewhere, he’ll be another Maholm x5

Blue Bomber

I can’t see why the wouldn’t keep Karstens. I don’t see how they’d spend the 3.8 mil better. His upside easily outweighs the risk in my mind, and if he’s non-tendered they won’t get a second chance as they might with Morton.


I don’t see Mazzaro or Stewart for that matter up with the big league club in 2013. Mazzaro has horrible stats..$100 says Resop gets tendered

Blue Bomber

I shudder to think of Vin Mazzaro actually pitching in a major league game for the Pirates. Surely he was acquired for AAA depth. Barring a catastrophic chain of injuries, he never sees Pittsburgh. Right, or am I missing something with him?


either Mazzaro makes the 25 man roster or he gets DFAd. only then will he make the AAA roster.


Tim, with BJ Upton signing with the Braves an article on ESPN said they maybe looking to find a LF to bat leadoff. What are your thoughts on trading Presley or Tabata to them for Tylor Pastornicky?


Same reason Pirates think Mazzaro will help them. Guesstimate only

Lee Young

I’m not gonna speak for Tim, but if I’m the Pirates, I’m making that deal. If I’m the Braves, I’m either hanging up or asking for more.





I’ll be interested to see in Sanchez and Karstens do get tendered. I guess Snider doesn’t have enough service time yet?

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