Tonight is the non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players, which means the Pirates have some decisions to make.
The eight players that the Pirates have to decide on are Charlie Morton, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Garrett Jones, Jason Grilli, and Jose Veras. The first four there will definitely be tendered contracts (kept for next season), but the other four are questions marks.
The biggest question mark in my mind is Jones. All I have been writing about recently is about the first base situation, and what the Pirates do with Jones will do a lot to tell us their plans for next season.
If the Pirates tender Jones a contract, there is a good chance that they won’t go after a first baseman in free agency or through a trade, which would be discouraging to me at least. Tendering Jones doesn’t automatically mean they won’t explore other options, but it would be a small tell. If they cut Jones loose and do not tender him a contract, I would fully expect the Pirates to find a first baseman for 2012 externally.
I don’t have a prediction here, I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen. What I can say is that I do expect the Pirates to tender Resop and Grilli contracts, with the emphasis on Grilli, smell a big year coming.
Deadline’s at midnight, so keep an eye out for the announced decisions.