The Cardinals, hoping to at least
gain some draft pick compensation, offered arbitration to three of their free
agents -- Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Joel Pineiro.
Holliday would command the most
compensation -- either a first- or second-round draft pick and a supplemental
first-round pick, while DeRosa and Pineiro, as Type B free agents, would net a
sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.
General manager John Mozeliak was
prepared for any and all to accept arbitration; any player who does accept is
considered a signed player for 2010.
"It's all about recognizing your
exposure should players accept," Mozeliak said. "I'm comfortable where we stand
in regard to those players who received offers."
That trio of players made $26.5
million last season, although the Cardinals were on the hook for half or less
than half of the salaries of DeRosa and Holliday, who were acquired during the
Mozeliak likely was to spend much
of his time at the winter meetings in Indianapolis trying to survey the Holliday
"We're not letting (the Holliday
matter) preclude us from doing our business," Mozeliak said. "There definitely
is a strategic change if he's out, but I'm comfortable if that takes another one
or two weeks to clarify."
--The Cardinals jumped into the
free agent pool -- their own -- when they re-signed backup C Jason LaRue to a
one-year contract worth $950,000, the same as he made in 2009. Calling LaRue,
who hit .240 in 104 at-bats a "known quantity," GM John Mozeliak suggested a
one-year commitment to LaRue made sense because of the potential advancement of
minor league Cs Bryan Anderson and Matt Pagnozzi.
--INF Ruben Gotay was signed to a
minor league deal and was given an invitation to spring training. The
26-year-old switch hitter batted .272 at Class AAA Reno with 102 walks last
--In a move that surprised no one,
the club did not offer arbitration to 3B Troy Glaus, who missed nearly all of
last season after shoulder surgery and assorted minor injuries. After driving in
99 runs in 2008, Glaus still was rated a Type B free agent in rankings covering
the past two seasons, but the Cardinals felt they couldn't run the risk of
having Glaus, who made $12.5 million in 2009, accept an arbitration
--The Cardinals did not offer
arbitration to any of their other free agents -- OF Rick Ankiel, SS Khalil Greene and RHPs Todd Wellemeyer and John Smoltz. Smoltz does have some appeal to
them for 2010, though, while the others, especially Greene and Wellemeyer, do
--Should the Cardinals have to
pursue another outfielder if Matt Holliday signs elsewhere, Xavier Nady, who was
hurt for much of the season with the Yankees last season, qualifies as a
candidate. Nady presumably is recovered from a right elbow injury that limited
him to seven games in 2009.
BY THE NUMBERS: $29,446.60 -- A
full playoff share for the Cardinals, who won a division title but were ousted
in the first round of the 2009 playoffs.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We understood the
risk when we traded for (Matt) Holliday, knowing he was looking to go into the
market and test his value. Knowing that we get a first- and a sandwich-round
pick back is comforting, sure. But at the same time, that's not really the first
goal." -- GM John Mozeliak, on what would happen if the Cardinals did not
re-sign the free agent outfielder.
The Cardinals didn't have many
needs as the season ended although they probably could use one more veteran
starting pitcher to go with RHPs Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse. RHPs Joel Pineiro and Todd Wellemeyer, who filled out the rotation, both
likely will be gone as free agents.
BIGGEST NEEDS: When the Cardinals
were dismissed early from the playoffs, they set the wheels in motion to try to
re-sign free-agent LF Matt Holliday and also 3B Mark DeRosa. Holliday, however,
seemed likely to go into the open market.
DEPARTURE: RHP Brad Thompson
(released, signed minor league deal with Royals).
FREE AGENTS: RHP Joel Pineiro, RHP
Todd Wellemeyer, RHP John Smoltz, INF Khalil Greene, INF Mark DeRosa, 3B Troy
Glaus, OF Rick Ankiel, LF Matt Holliday.
The Cardinals have large interest
in keeping Holliday and DeRosa and some interest in Smoltz. The others probably
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: OF Ryan Ludwick, 2B Skip Schumaker.
Schumaker will make more as a
second baseman than an outfielder. Ludwick likely will get close to $7 million
and might have to be traded for payroll relief if Holliday signs a multiyear
IN LIMBO: OF Ryan Ludwick, a
candidate to be traded last year, could be dealt this time. RHP Josh Kinney, a
playoff hero in 2006, probably won't return.
3B Mark DeRosa (left wrist surgery
in October 2009) should be ready for spring training.
1B Albert Pujols (arthroscopic
right elbow surgery in October 2009) should be back at full strength for spring