1:57pm: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has the full breakdown of the deal (Twitter link). In addition to his $3.5MM salary for 2015, Jay received a $1.25MM signing bonus. On top of that, he’ll earn $6.225MM in 2016, making for a $10.975MM total.
1:50pm: Jay’s contract is a two-year, $10.975MM deal, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). The exact breakdown isn’t quite clear, though Goold notes that Jay’s base salary in 2015 is $3.5MM, and he also received a yet-undisclosed signing bonus (which is already included in the $10.975MM sum).
1:37pm: The Cardinals announced today that they’ve signed center fielder Jon Jay to a two-year contract, thereby avoiding arbitration (Twitter link). As can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, Jay had filed for a $5MM salary, while the Redbirds countered with a $4.1MM offer. With a two-year deal now in place, Jay’s salaries are locked in until he is eligible for free agency following the 2016 campaign.
Jay, a client of CAA Sports’ Nez Balelo, had been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $4.5MM in 2015, which was roughly the midpoint of the figures exchanged by the two sides. The 29-year-old (30 in March) enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2014, hitting .303/.372/.378 in 468 plate appearances with above-average defense in center, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved.
The offensive output is more or less indicative of what one can expect from Jay in a typical season; Jay has never hit below .276 or above .305, and his OBP has fallen between .344 and .373 each season as well. The former second-rounder can be counted on for plus marks in both average and OBP with below-average power on a yearly basis. Previously, Jay has been a threat to steal as well, though after swiping 19 bags in 2012, he stole just 10 in 2013 and six in 2014.
While Jay is largely consistent at the plate, he is less so in the outfield, where defensive metrics fluctuate on his performance from year to year (with the net result being roughly average). Jay struggled defensively in the 2013 postseason, which was one likely reason that the Cardinals felt the need to acquire Peter Bourjos from the Angels last offseason. One of baseball’s most gifted defenders, Bourjos cut into Jay’s playing time a bit early in the season before Jay reclaimed the everyday role. He’s ticketed for everyday duty in center field again in 2015, which prompted some to speculate on the availability of Bourjos earlier this winter. However at this point, it seems that both center fielders will be in camp with St. Louis.