Pirates tender contracts to seven players

Pirates tender contracts to seven players

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced that they have tendered contracts to seven players eligible for arbitration, meaning that all unsigned players except infielder Pedro Ciriaco and catcher Jason Jaramillo will be offered contracts by the Pirates for the 2012 season.

Ciriaco and Jaramillo, both of whom were already off the 40-man roster after being designated for assignment last week, became free agents at midnight ET.

Players with less than three years of service time automatically have their contracts renewed by the club. Teams had until midnight Monday to tender a contract to players who are arbitration eligible. Any arbitration-eligible player not offered a contract joins the free-agent pool.

After agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with arbitration-eligible reliever Jason Grilli earlier in the day, the Pirates' list of remaining arbitration-eligible players included Joel Hanrahan, Garrett Jones, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Charlie Morton, Chris Resop and Casey McGehee. McGehee was acquired from the Brewers earlier Monday in exchange for Jose Veras.

By tendering contracts to these seven players, the Pirates are prepared to go as far as an arbitration hearing if the player and team cannot work out a deal on their own. Any arbitration-eligible player who is unsigned on Jan. 18 will exchange desired salary figures with his team.

Arbitration hearings will then be scheduled during the first three weeks of February for any player that still has not come to an agreement independently.

Jones, Meek, Morton, McGehee and Resop are arbitration-eligible for the first time in their careers. For Hanrahan and Karstens this is their second year of arbitration eligibility. Both avoided hearings last season by agreeing to one-year deals on their own.

Karstens earned $1.1 million in 2011. Hanrahan, who is expected to see the biggest spike in salary among this group, made $1.4 million during his 40-save season.

In other news, the Pirates lost right-hander Jeremy Hefner on waivers to the Mets. Hefner, whom Pittsburgh designated for assignment Friday, was a part of the organization for just a few weeks. The Pirates used their own waiver claim to add the right-hander to their roster in late November.

The Pirates' 40-man roster remains full.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.