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.

7 Responses to 2013 Contract Issues: St. Louis Cardinals Leave a Reply

  1. hombrej 3 years 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.

  2. stl_cards16 3 years 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.

    • 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. Wainwrights_Curveball 3 years 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.

    • Josher 3 years 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.

      • Wainwrights_Curveball 3 years 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).

  4. stl_cards16 3 years 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.

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