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2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Jeff Karstens

The former Yankees prospect and Pirates pitcher is on the market.

Justin K. Aller

Drafted by the Yankees in the 19th round of the 2003 amateur draft, Jeff Karstens was traded to the Pirates with Ross Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutchen, and Jose Tabata for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady before the 2008 trade deadline. Although he had made a handful of starts for the Yankees at the time, he didn't become a regular major league pitcher until 2009.

That year, Karstens had a 5.42 ERA, and he wasn't much more effective with a 4.92 ERA in 2010. But in 162.1 innings over 30 appearances, 26 of which were starts, Karstens had a 3.38 ERA in 2011. And in 2012, he made 19 appearances, 15 of which were starts, as he posted a 3.97 ERA. But over those two years, he had been dealing with shoulder soreness regularly.

Karstens had shoulder surgery in June last year and made just two minor league appearances in the 2013 season. Now 31 years old, he's having a showcase for teams this month to demonstrate his arm is healthy, but it's hard to imagine he'll get anything more than an incentive-laden deal. It couldn't hurt to bring in Karstens on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, but even if that were to happen, Jenrry Mejia would figure to have an advantage in the rotation competition after his excellent handful of starts in the big leagues last year.