7:35pm: Walden receives a $350K signing bonus before earning $2.5MM in 2015 and $3.5MM in 2016, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. The $5.25MM club option comes with a $250K buyout.
12:07pm: The Cardinals have announced a two-year deal with righty Jordan Walden to avoid arbitration, via Twitter. The deal includes a club option for 2017, giving St. Louis control over Walden for one season of expected free agent eligibility.
The deal is for $6.6MM over two years, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The club option will cost $5.25MM to exercise.
Walden came to the Cardinals along with Jason Heyward by way of trade earlier in the offseason, and this signing confirms that he was hardly a throw-in. Atlanta had picked him up in a swap for Tommy Hanson before the 2013 campaign.
With Atlanta last year, Walden pitched to a 2.88 ERA with 11.2 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9. Those strong results are now fairly typical for the 27-year-old power reliever, who has established himself as a dependable back-of-the-pen arm. Walden owns a 3.10 career earned run average in 211 2/3 frames over five seasons, and has not yet finished a season with lower-than double-digit strikeouts per nine.
Though his fastball velocity is down a few ticks from his first few seasons, Walden still averages nearly 96mph on his heater. And pitch values suggest that he has deployed it with even greater success, while also dialing up the effectiveness of his low-to-mid-80’s slider.