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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