Arbitration Eligibles: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals' offseason has yet to begin, and once it does Albert Pujols will be the primary concern.  GM John Mozeliak will also have to address the situations of four arbitration eligible players, and we look at them today as we finish off this series.

Theriot projects for a $3.9MM salary and is likely to be non-tendered.  The statuses of Rafael Furcal, Nick Punto, and Schumaker will be factors, but Theriot makes too much money to continue on as a bench player and he's not the team's first choice at either middle infield position.  Schumaker is a non-tender candidate as well, though he's more versatile than Theriot and projects at a more affordable $3.1MM.  Motte ($1.7MM) and McClellan ($2.7MM) will be part of next year's club.  

If the Cardinals exercise their club options for Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Octavio Dotel, they'll have about $84MM in contractual commitments.  Add $4.4MM for Motte and McClellan and they're at $88.3MM before accounting for minimum salary players.  A $110MM payroll would leave over $20MM in flexibility.  One can certainly picture scenarios where a new Pujols contract fits in, though they'd probably have to take payroll a bit higher to sign Furcal and a few other minor pieces.  A trip to the World Series helps the payroll situation.

47 Responses to Arbitration Eligibles: St. Louis Cardinals Leave a Reply

  1. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    I’m wondering if Schumaker and Theriot might both get non-tendered.  There have been talks about working Allen Craig hard at 2nd base during the winter. They really need to find a way to get his bat in the line-up. Schumaker will probly be back because of the need for a back-up CF. I can’t see them starting Chambers in the majors next year. Descalso is another solid option at 2B.

    Dotel, I’m not sure about.  He’s not too bad at the $3.5MM price, but the Cardinals have a lot of depth from the right side of the pen.  I could see them not picking up the option.

    SS and Albert are the only real concerns.  In a perfect world they bring back both Furcal and Albert.  Of course, this will be the interesting part of the winter.

    • wwy 4 years ago

      I think if they have a backup CF, it would make sense for it to be someone who hits right-handed. Also, I am not 100% sure McClellan will be offered arbitration. He was mediocre at best as a starter and was pretty terrible in relief. He could be the next Brad Thompson and just be let go.

      • stl_cards16 4 years ago

        I would agree about the backup CF, but it doesn’t make sense to go spend much on someone to sit the bench. 
         I’m sure McCLellen will be back.  He threw more innings in the first half of this year than he had ever before.  He’ll be back in the bullpen next year and be fine,  I’m sure.

        Still, two small parts that I’m not too concerned about.  We already have great right handed relief depth and bench depth, so those are two areas that won’t be hard to put together.

      • Last year McClellan was our best setup guy. Was good against right and left handed batters. Hopefully we keep him but he is a trade candidate not a non tender possibility.

      • You can move K-Mac into that 100% column.  You are putting too much emphasis on his performance this year.  Look at his track record.  For the first 3 years of his career he had an ERA+ of 127.  He’ll be back in the bullpen in ’11.  They changed his role this year and he didn’t do too bad.  It was only have 3 straight sub-par years that the Cards cut Thompson.

    • Since Dotel is projecting as a type A, I suspect they won’t pick up the option.  If he accepts arbitration, we get him back anyway.  If he declines, we get two draft picks.

      I expect McClellan to be traded since the Cardinals have so many up and coming relievers.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shelby Miller joins the bullpen a few months into the season.

      • stl_cards16 4 years ago

        I agree with you on most points.  But, I would like to see Miller continue starting at AAA and be the 6th starter when one is needed.  That will keep him stretched out and maybe give him some starts and be prepared to take a spot in the rotation for 2013.  He needs to be logging innings to develop.

      • Lanidrac 4 years ago

        Declining Dotel’s option would be dumb. We need the excellent veteran depth he provides in the bullpen, and it’ll be at a cheaper price than any good setup man in the free agent market.

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          You could have the same pen as now -Dotel +Sanchez and $3.5MM free.  They’ll probly bring Dotel back because TLR loves veterans, but I don’t think he is needed.

          • I don’t think they’ll place Miller in the pen.  They’re gonna wait until he breaks camp as a starter or replaces a starter who’s injured.  He has to keep throwing a lot of pitches.  Chambers will be considered during ST, 2012.  I’d rather let Theriot and Skip go and work on Descalso playing “some” OF.  Craig is not a 2Bmen.  He’s perfect for giving Hollidday, Berkman and even Pujols rests.  That adds up to quite a few AB’s.

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            I agree about Miller not being in the pen, that’s what I said.

            You want to let Theriot and Skip go and work Descalso in the OF?  So who is your 2B? I don’t get working Descalso in the OF unless he could somehow play center because we have plenty of depth at the corners.

            Craig being a backup for next year is fine, it gives us good depth.  But he has a legit bat and he better get first shot at RF when Berkman is gone.

          • Descalso and Punto would platoon 2B.  They are both much better defensively than Theriot or Skip.  You would need one of them to learn OF.  Then you have 2 guys that play 2B, SS, 3B and OF in a pinch.  Then you have Craig in OF and possibly Chambers strictly for defensive OF and speed.  Descalso is plenty athletic enough to learn CF.  This would give a little more salary to sign Furcal and have a rock solid D up the middle.

          • Lanidrac 4 years ago

            The defensive advantage over Schumaker isn’t enough to offset his superior bat. Schmaker plays decent defense, and we can go defense first at SS, which is why we want to resign Furcal.

          • Lanidrac 4 years ago

            Dotel is still significantly better than Sanchez at this point, and we need some kind of veteran experience in a bullpen where nobody else has more than 4 years of big league experience.  Those reasons combined are easily worth the difference in salary.

  2. Grant Chastain 4 years ago

    I’d hate to see Ryan Theriot go, but a lot of that is predicated upon whether or not the team resigns Furcal.  Furcal up the middle makes Theriot a very expensive shelf option, and I’m sure he’s not interested in that kind of role.

    As with everyone else, the #1, #2, and #3 through #10 priorities all read RESIGN ALBERT PUJOLS… but I hope Mozeliak is smart enough to recognize that Albert doesn’t drag the team into the postseason without help.

  3. Kolten Wong and Tyler Greene next year

    • Cheeseballs 4 years ago

      Far too early for Kolten.

    • stl_cards16 4 years ago

      Kolten Wong to the majors after a whole 47 games in the Quad Cities(A) huh?  Although it was an impressive half a season, I’m guessing we’re going to give him a year in the minors.

    • Lanidrac 4 years ago

      Both of these suggestions are ridiculous. Tyler Greene is a perennial AAAA player who I believe is elgible for minor league free agency.

  4. Lanidrac 4 years ago

    Why would we non-tender Schumaker?  He’s an affordable career .290 hitter with decent defense at 2B and OF.  He’s easily the best middle infielder the Cardinals currently have available for 2012.

    • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

      Wait, I thought Schumaker’s defense was atrocious. I seem to remember loads of people on here complaining about how bad he was.

      • Good 4th Outfielder with a great attitude ….. don’t really want him playing everyday 2b. Bats around .300 for a couple million. That is hard to find.

      • Lanidrac 4 years ago

        That’s Theriot. Outside of a minor slip in his defense in 2010, his defense has been just fine at 2B.

  5. Cheeseballs 4 years ago

    What about Laird? Does Cruz take his spot?

  6. I would say yes to Cruz over Laird.  Way too early for Wong.  Keep an eye out for Jose Garcia(2B AA, speedy, hits for average), and don’t be surprised if Carpenter gets some work in a 2B in spring training.  Cardinals have some chips that don’t look that promising to me or that don’t have room at the MLB, that could be traded.

  7. mgsports 4 years ago

    How about Cox and Hamilton? Nick S. to?

    • Cox doesn’t have range for 2Bman.  Nick S. is an AAAA player.  He should really probably be traded.  Hamilton has one position, so it’s hard for him to be a valuable bench player unless Pujols is hurt.  Even then it makes more sense to use Berkman or Craig and have bench guys that have multiple positions.

      • Lanidrac 4 years ago

        Besides, Cox is still a couple years away from the big leagues.

    • Stavi is going to be a minor league free agent this winter. It’s highly unlikely he comes back. There’s no spot for him.

  8. Andy_B 4 years ago

    Extending Yadi needs to be a priority.  It might making signing Pujols easier if he knows his best buddy is going to be here for the next several years.

  9. Andy_B 4 years ago

    the future is looking pretty bright for the cards.  We lose Jackson but replace him with Wainwright, just need to sign Pujols and we’re for the next couple of years.

  10. Redbirds16 4 years ago

    Too early to think about Motte as an extension candidate? Maybe this time next year if he continues his success. He’s had brief spurts of lights-out stuff in the past, but nothing like this sustained run from the ASB to now…

    Dotel should accept arbitration if the Cards decline his option and offer arb (I assume he has a buyout too, plus whatever arb. salary he’s awarded, which would certainly be more $ than the option). No GM is going to sign him to a major league contract if they have to give up draft picks (even a bottom-half team that only has to give up a 2nd rounder).

  11. david 4 years ago

    extend yadi, wainwright, bring back skip. let albert walk, sign reyes to a big 5 year contract, let albert walk. Lineup of Reyes-Craig-Holliday-Berkman-Freese-Molina-Jay-Skip is outstanding, and the rotation will be excellent as well.

    • BajaPete 4 years ago

      I wouldn’t sign Reyes with YOUR pen!  He proved exactly who and what he is and was when he removed hinself from the lineup so he could “win” the batting title!  He’s a selfish, egotistcal cancer who would set about destroying the club from the inside, a malcontent and a “me first” jerk.  I’d almost rather have a Nyjer Morgan and would definitely take the Reds 2nd baseman, Phillips, over both of them…all three being cut out of the same rotten bolt of cloth!  No, I think that after the World Series, Furcal will be even more anxious to stay with the club, as will Dotel.  Unless he forces his way into the lineup the way that Garcia did, I don’t see Miller anywhere near the Majors next season prior to September 1st unless a starter goes down.  Lynn, though, with every pitch he’s made and is yet to make this season, is further strengthening his chance to come north with the parent club out of Spring Training…and Pujols ain’t going nowhere! 

  12. david 4 years ago

    half serious

    • stl_cards16 4 years ago

      I thought you were double serious since you wanted to “let albert walk” twice.

      On a serious note….Those National League Champion shirts are sweet this year.

      • Ferrariman 4 years ago

        i really don’t like the shirts too much to be honest.  The hats are nice though. Already got mine.

  13. Andy_B 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t be surprised if McClellan is traded this offseason, he’s expendable, could be an attractive option for someone looking for a 5th starter, and there may be some bad blood about being left off the roster in the World Series.

    • Yankees420 4 years ago

      I don’t know about McClellan being an “attractive option” for anyone, at least not as a SP.  His K/9 rate dropped below 5, his SIERA went up nearly a full point, and his FIP- went up to 132 (average is 100 and lower is better), compared to an average of 99 from 2008-2010.  And if you look at any of his pitch type values on Fangraphs, you can see that every single type of pitch he throws was rated significantly worse.  Maybe his stats are suffering due to becoming a SP, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with him as my #5.

    • Lanidrac 4 years ago

      McClellan has previously been an excellent setup man in the bullpen, especially valuable with our young bullpen, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t continue to do when he can once again focus on being a reliever for the full season.

  14. BajaPete 4 years ago

    By the way, I see the Rockies returning Andrew Brown to us before the end of spring training.

  15. mopapa 4 years ago

    Why not a salary cut and leave Theriot at 2b?  I think he’d be really good there, if he and the team would make the commitment to put him there full time.  Or do y’all think he wouldn’t take a cut in pay?  If it were me and I had the option to stay with a perennial contender, I’d jump on it.

  16. Cheeseballs 4 years ago

    And go from a World Series team to the Cubs? Sounds like a terrible idea for a guy who wants to win, especially with an ace coming back.

  17. BajaPete 4 years ago

    Besides, the Player’s Union wouldn’t let him sign with a minor league club under any circumstances!

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