There’s no doubt Jack Flaherty will be tendered a contract in his first season of arbitration eligibility, though Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have yet to speak with Flaherty about a long-term extension. With Flaherty under team control through 2023, there isn’t necessarily any rush to work out a multi-year deal, so the Cards might prefer to wait a little longer before exploring a larger deal (especially if the team is still trying to figure out its payroll situation after the revenue losses of the 2020 season).
That said, an extension would also give both Flaherty and the Cardinals some financial certainty through what could be a tumultuous few years, given both the pandemic and the expiration of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement following the 2021 season. Signing young players to long-term deals has been a key tactic of John Mozeliak’s tenure in the St. Louis front office, so one would imagine an extension would be broached with Flaherty at some point this offseason, perhaps during Spring Training. It’s worth noting that past negotiations between Flaherty and the Cardinals over the relatively simpler matter of his pre-arbitration contracts also haven’t been straight-forward, as the Cardinals have renewed the right-hander’s contracts in each of the last two seasons.
More from the National League…
- Jon Gray is a potential non-tender candidate following a rough 2020 season, though MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link) reports that the Rockies are “expected” to tender Gray a deal in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility. Gray posted a 6.69 ERA over eight starts before being shut down due to shoulder inflammation in early September, ending a season that saw him post some ugly Statcast metrics as well as career worsts in K/9 (5.1), K/BB rate (2.00), grounder rate (36.7%), and fastball velocity (94mph). While there was some misfortune involved in Gray’s struggles (such as a stunningly low 54.4% strand rate), the season represented another low point of an up-and-down career for the former third overall pick. Gray is projected for a salary in the range of $5.9MM in 2021, which the Rockies may feel is an acceptable price tag to see if Gray can get himself on track next year.
- “There have been many clubs with interest” in trading for Marlins first baseman Jesus Aguilar, SportsGrid’s Craig Mish writes. It isn’t known whether any of those teams might make the Fish a big offer prior to today’s non-tender deadline, though Mish feels the Marlins will indeed tender Aguilar a contract despite the uncertainty about whether or not the DH will be part of National League baseball next season. Aguilar started 19 games as a designated hitter in 2020, and was a first baseman in his 31 other starts. “Jesus returning without the DH is not optimal, but possible” for Miami, Mish writes, and of course trades could still be explored throughout the offseason.