This is at least the second time Biertempfel has said this, but I haven't yet seen any indication from the team that this is the case. Maybe Biertempfel knows something I don't, but I wouldn't read a whole lot into the Pirates' decision not to move Karstens back into the rotation just to make a couple of starts, or just one start.
Karstens, who is making $3.1 million, has one year of arbitration eligibility left. Pirates likely will decide it's not worth paying $4M-plus to a guy who's proven to be an injury risk, which is why Locke and McPherson have gotten long looks down stretch.
... Or it could be that Locke and McPherson have gotten starts because, even if you pencil Karstens into next year's rotation, there are still only four relatively surefire guys in it -- Karstens, A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald.
Unless the Pirates have some incredibly bleak insight into Karstens' medicals that I don't know about, the idea that they would be disinclined to pay Karstens $4 million next year is just bizarre to me. Remember, this is a team that recently decided to pay Rod Barajas and Kevin Correia $4 million a year each, to say nothing of Lyle Overbay at $5 million. $4 million for a serviceable player is nothing, and Karstens was solid last year and struck out five batters for every walk this year.
I'm not sure why the Pirates would consider this, and, as with the weird rumors last year that Garrett Jones would be non-tendered, my guess is that this one won't come to anything.