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MLB Non-Tender Deadline: Pirates Drop Lastings Milledge

The Pirates made a flurry of moves at the non-tender deadline, the highest-profile of which was their decision to non-tender outfielder Lastings Milledge. Essentially, the Pirates decided to drop Milledge to avoid paying $1 million to $1.5 million in arbitration. This was a curious decision - not because Milledge was anything great, but because he was only 25 last year and was a perfectly viable bench outfielder despite being a disappointment overall. As a former top prospect, there's still some chance that Milledge could develop in his late 20s, so shouldn't the Pirates have taken that chance? Since he's already a decent bench player, there was no real downside to taking him to arbitration, and at least a little - the Pirates could have controlled him for two more years after this one if he did develop. Meanwhile, the Pirates agreed to a contract with pitcher Jeff Karstens, who's vaguely competent but has no chance whatsoever of doing anything but eat innings. The decision to get rid of Milledge was a strange one, to say the least.

The Pirates also tendered Ross Ohlendorf and Joel Hanrahan, as expected, and agree to a deal with shortstop Ronny Cedeno. They also dropped shorstop Argenis Diaz and pitchers Brian Burres and Donnie Veal from their 40-man roster. Diaz and Burres won't be missed, and the Bucs plan to re-sign Veal to a minor-league contract.

The list of non-tenders throughout baseball includes Bobby Jenks and Russell Martin. Importantly for the Pirates, the Twins did offer a deal to shortstop J.J. Hardy, who could be a Pirates trade target in the coming months.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.