2013 Contract Issues: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (3)

  • Kyle Lohse - Lohse is limiting walks, hits and home runs so far this year, so the Cardinals could have interest in extending their relationship with the right-hander. If pitching prospects Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez don't seem ready for MLB hitters, Lohse could round out the St. Louis rotation for another year.
  • Lance Berkman - Berkman, 36, has appeared in just eight games this year due to an extended stint on the disabled list. If the switch-hitter replicates his 2011 production from here on it'll be hard for the Cardinals to let him go. If not, they can allocate his $12MM salary elsewhere.
  • Scott Linebrink - Linebrink, now on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, hasn't thrown a pitch for the Cardinals. The 35-year-old has been an effective reliever in recent years, but his stock has fallen in 2012.

Contract Options (1)

  • Jake Westbrook: $8.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout if the club declines. Westbrook has pitched well, though not quite as well as his 1.76 ERA suggests. The right-hander will have turned 35 by the time the season ends, so the Cardinals could decline their side of the option if they believe the net cost of $7.5MM is too much for a back-of-the-rotation starter.

Arbitration Eligible (5)

The Cardinals face a relatively small class of arbitration eligible players this offseason. The group figures to cost $10-15MM to retain for 2013.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Cardinals have already committed approximately $84.5MM to next year's payroll. They've spent $110MM or so in each of the past two seasons, so they should be able to round out their rotation without raising payroll after accounting for arbitration eligible players and other upcoming raises.

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7 Comments on "2013 Contract Issues: St. Louis Cardinals"

3 years 3 months ago

I believe Miller will be ready…could be a rotation of Carpenter, Wainwright, Garcia, Lynn, Miller. Not too shabby.

If miller not ready maybe they pick up Westy’s option. Lohse will look for last payday most likely.

K-Mac could be let go pending how he does this year and if he is not traded.

3 years 3 months ago

Carlos Martinez definitely won’t be ready by the start of next year.  Hopefully Miller has turned the corner and he will start 2013 in the rotation.  I still don’t think it would be a bad idea to bring Lohse back, but I would imagine he’ll be looking for a 2 or 3 year deal if he continues his strong season and I don’t think the Cardinals would be interested at that price with the pitching depth in the minors.

Berkman is more than likely in his last season in St. Louis.  Even if he performs well the rest of the year, I think he’d have to take a decent discount to make sense bringing him back.  Matt Adams will be ready to man first base and with Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter playing well and not having open positions, it just doesn’t make sense to continue to pay Berkman big money for not much more production.

Besides that the team will pretty much be the same.  The offense probably won’t have any changes besides Berkman leaving and the pitching will look pretty much the same besides Lohse and Westbrook will be replaced internally or by a cheap back of the rotation option.

3 years 3 months ago

Miller will definitely be in the rotation full time next year, and there
is a very high chance he sees the majors sometime this year. I love
Berkman but it would make zero sense to bring him back. Adams is another
guy that will most likely be in the majors at some point this year.
Also, I think you’re forgetting Wong. If Greene keeps struggling there
is no doubt he will take over full time second base this year. As to the
article, there is zero chance they bring Westbrook back, and maybe a
15% chance they bring Lohse back.
Next year will most likely look the following:
C: Molina
1B: Adams/Craig(depends on how Adams does the rest of the year in the minors)
2B: Wong/Greene(depends on how Greene does this year)
3B: Freese
SS: Furcal
LF: Holiday
CF: Jay
RF: Beltran
SP: Chris Carpenter
SP: Garcia
SP: Wainwright
SP: Miller
SP: Lynn/Kelly/Rosenthal/random guy from minors(depends on how Lynn does the rest of this year)
RP: Motte
RP: Boggs
RP: Sanchez
RP: Rzepczynski 
RP: Salas
RP: Kelly(another really good prospect that has a chance to come up in 12.
RP: Lynn/random guy from minors
Util: Craig/Adams
Util: Wong/Greene
Util: Anderson
Util: Schumaker
Util: Robinson
let me explain this a bit. Obviously Wong won’t be on the bench, but
I’m biased for Greene and believe he will put up 20 homers, 30 SB, 780
OPS, and fantastic defense this season. If he does this, Wong will be
blocked and will probably spend another year in the minors. That extra
spot would go to Descalso. Although, I’m assuming Descalso is out of
options. If he is out of options, there is a good chance he’s with
another team sometime this year. Since I firmly believe he will be
designated for assignment sometime this season. If he isn’t out of
options, he goes to the minors and fights for a utility job next year.
Now, I’m sure everyone notices the lack of Cruz, Berkman, Matt
Carpenter, Westbrook, Marte, McClellan, and Lohse. As I said before, I
am almost positive the cards won’t resign any of Berkman, Westbrook,
Lohse. Cruz I believe will be sent back to the minors sometime this year
and Anderson will be called up to be the backup catcher. Once again,
I’m not sure if Cruz is out of options, but if he is he will most likely
be with another team sometime this season. Marte is garbage and there
is zero chance he finishes the year with the Cardinals. Regardless if
it’s by being released, being claimed by another team, etc. Matt
Carpenter is blocked by Craig/Adams, and he is far too good for the
minors. I say he gets traded sometime in the off season, or maybe at the
deadline this year. McClellan is an average pitcher that is taking a
roster spot away from one of our various young pitchers in the minors
that are much more talented. I say he either gets traded at the
deadline, in the off season, or designated for assignment this year and
claimed by another team. One more thing, Cox is another guy that is
blocked and most likely won’t make the team, and if he keeps hitting the
way he is in the minors this year, the guy won’t have much trade value.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of setting up a package of Jenkins,
Cox, Carpenter/Robinson, Rosenthal/Kelly/Blair/Swagger for a top player
such as Hamels, Peavy, etc. Though, that is highly, highly unlikely.

3 years 3 months ago

Here is my 2 cents.
Lohse – Offering the guy arb is risky because he just might accept. As a Cards fan, I’m glad to see he is doing well but I think his time in STL needs to come to an end after this season. The money it would cost to keep him could be spent elsewhere.

Berkman – With the emergence of Allen Craig last season and Matt Carpenter this season, there is no need to keep Berkman around.  Guy could even get dealt during the deadline if Carpenter and Craig continue to produce and the Cards are confident that Berkman is expendable.

Linebrink – Needs to at least play this season and perform before any judgment can be made about whether to keep him around or let him walk.

Westbrook – This is lock to get declined.

I’ll save judgement for all the arb eligible players except McClellan.  His days in Stl are over after the season is out.

3 years 3 months ago

Yep good idea to trade a proven player in Berkman when Carpenter has very little experience at this level and Craig hadn’t done it for a full year. The Cards won’t trade Berkman. It would be stupid to.
1. He’s a great influence on and off the field.
2. It’s huge to have one of Beltran, Berkman, Craig, Holliday, Freese or Jay coming off the bench at the end of the game.

3 years 3 months ago

First of all Berkman is 36. His days of being a “proven” player are long gone. I’m obviously aware of how good his rebound season was last year but that’s because he managed to stay healthy. And even if he does stay healthy, the guy is no longer a lock to put up the kind of power numbers he once did back in his prime. Father time catches up to all of us.

Secondly, I said Berkman COULD get dealt…I didn’t say he would.  What’s more likely to happen is the Cardinals letting Berkman walk after the season is over. I think Craig has shown enough to earn the everyday 1B job next season. Plus he’ll be A LOT cheaper than Berkman, freeing up payroll for the Cards to spend in other areas (pitching).

3 years 3 months ago

Two years.  The Cardinals have needed a long-term SS since Edgar Renteria left for Boston.  Ryan Jackson could be that guy but he doesn’t really look like a superstar or anything.  Has a nice glove but that offense has never really developed with him.  It looks like the revolving door at SS will continue for a little while.