With finalization of the Jeff Karstens signing, the Pirates have designated right handed pitcher Zach Stewart for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
The Bucs acquired Stewart on waivers from the Red Sox at the end of November for a player to be named later. That player turned out to be Kyle Kaminska, who was acquired in the Gaby Sanchez prior to the Trade Deadline. It was expected that Stewart would be part of the battle for one of the final two spots in the bullpen during Spring Training and, while he may still be part of the bullpen mix, he will now have to clear waivers first in order to do so.
Karstens’ deal has been confirmed as potentially worth $3.5M – still less than what he would have received through arbitration (estimated at $3.8M). He will received a base salary of $2.5M, with a potential $1M in further incentives based on innings pitched. While a $2.5M deal represents a solid gamble by the club and he should have value even if a trip to the disabled list is required; if Karstens does make the full million dollars worth of incentives he could likely become Neal Huntington’s best major league free agent signing.