Next in our Offseason In Review series, the Cardinals.
Major League Signings
- Matt Holliday, LF: seven years, $120MM. Includes $17MM club option for 2017 with a $1MM buyout. Includes deferred money.
- Brad Penny, SP: one year, $7.5MM.
- Felipe Lopez, IF: one year, $1MM.
- Jason LaRue, C: one year, $950K.
- Total spend: $129.45MM.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Skip Schumaker, 2B: two years, $4.7MM.
Trades and Claims
- Claimed Rule 5 P Ben Jukich off waivers from Reds; returned on 3/18/10
- Rick Ankiel, Joe Thurston, Mark DeRosa, Khalil Greene, Brian Barden, Troy Glaus, Joel Pineiro, Todd Wellemeyer, Brad Thompson, John Smoltz, Jarrett Hoffpauir, Mike Parisi
The Cardinals' offseason was mostly about re-signing Holliday, which finally occurred on January 5th. GM John Mozeliak also overpaid Penny by a few million, but made up for it by getting Lopez at a bargain price.
Summing up the concerns about the Holliday signing: the Cardinals significantly overpaid given the lack of competition, it may be difficult to pay Holliday and Albert Pujols a combined $40MM+ starting in 2012, and the last few years of the contract will not provide good value. ESPN's Jayson Stark says Holliday's only other offers were one-year deals in the $18MM range. The Cardinals-Holliday contract was panned by most executives to whom Buster Olney spoke.
Prior to the Holliday signing, Mozeliak guaranteed a surprising $7.5MM to Penny. Penny offers upside under Dave Duncan's tutelage, though replacing Joel Pineiro's 214 innings of 3.49 ball will be nearly impossible. Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cards never made Pineiro an offer, because the pitcher wanted multiple years and the team already has three such rotation commitments.
The Lopez signing was easily one of the best of the offseason. The Cardinals waited him out until late February and guaranteed less than many utility players and half-season pitchers received.
The Holliday contract is questionable, but he certainly makes the Cardinals much better in the near future. Their offense projects as one of the best in the NL, and the worst projected ERA among their front four starters is Kyle Lohse's 4.18. The Cardinals are easily the NL Central favorite in 2010.