7:40pm: Edman is guaranteed $16.5MM, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (X link).
3:30pm: The Cardinals and utility player Tommy Edman have avoided arbitration by signing a two-year deal, per a club announcement. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported on the agreement prior to the club making it official. The financials of the deal have not yet been publicly reported. Edman was one of 22 players who didn’t agree to a salary before the filing deadline, though he’s now the third of that group to subsequently ink a new pact, joining Cionel Pérez of the Orioles and Casey Mize of the Tigers.
Edman, 29 in May, first qualified for arbitration a year ago and made $4.2MM in 2023. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected him for a raise to $6.5MM this year. As mentioned, he and the club didn’t agree on a new salary by the filing deadline, with Edman filing at $6.95MM and the club at $6.5MM. They would have been slated for a hearing in the weeks to come but have instead agreed to a deal that will cover his 2024 and 2025 seasons, buying out his final two arb years. Edman will be slated for free agency after this deal runs its course.
Like many clubs, the Cards are a “file-and-trial” team, meaning they choose not to continue negotiations on one-year deals after the filing deadline even though such talks are allowed. Last week, Edman said he hadn’t yet heard anything about a multi-year deal but expected talks to occur before the hearing. It appears those talks did end up taking place and were fruitful enough to avoid a hearing, as well preventing Edman from having to worry about arbitration at all next winter.
Over his career, Edman has moved all over the diamond, having played all three outfield positions and the three infield spots to the left of first base, receiving strong grades for his glovework wherever he goes. He has hit .265/.319/.408 in his career, leading to a 99 wRC+, which indicates he’s been a hair below league average. He has stolen 106 bases in 123 tries. FanGraphs considers him to have provided 15.3 wins above replacement in 596 career games.
In 2024, it’s expected that he will be the center fielder on a regular basis, with Lars Nootbaar and Jordan Walker likely to be flanking him most of the time. However, Edman also spent significant time at shortstop last year. The club is hoping Masyn Winn will take over the shortstop job going forward, but he’s not yet 22 years old and hit .172/.230/.238 in his first 137 major league plate appearances. It’s also possible an injury will create the need for Edman to move somewhere else, with Nootbaar or Dylan Carlson perhaps taking over in center.
Edman underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery in October and it still rehabbing from that procedure. As of last week, he hadn’t yet been cleared to make contact when swinging a bat but was “very confident” that he would be ready for the start of the season.