Right-hander Jeff Karstens was designated for assignment on Friday by the Pirates, who used his vacated roster spot to accommodate newly signed catcher Russell Martin.Karstens was one of eight arbitration-eligible players affected by Friday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline for tendering contracts. His DFA status, hence, is a mere technicality, as he will be non-tendered and consequently become a free agent at midnight. "It was a tough decision," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, who was unable to negotiate a fresh deal with the pitcher. "We worked hard to come to a pre-tender agreement with Jeff and his agent and also attempted to work out a trade for him but were unsuccessful. "We're grateful for what Jeff has done, and wish him well." The 30-year-old right-hander went 14-13 with an ERA of 3.59 the last two seasons as a regular member of the starting rotation. Karstens was 5-4 during a 2012 season in which he was able to work only 90 2/3 innings between shoulder and hip-flexor injuries. Acquired from the New York Yankees (along with pitchers Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf and outfielder Jose Tabata) in a July 2008 deal for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady, Karstens compiled a 23-35 record with a 4.31 ERA in five seasons with the Bucs.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.