St. Louis Cardinals non-tender John Axford

Of the club's four arbitration-eligible players for 2014, only reliever John Axford was cut loose.

When the St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielder Peter Bourjos from the Los Angeles Angels, they added an arbitration-eligible player. However, in the process, the Cardinals dealt away two in David Freese and Fernando Salas.

Bourjos joined three other Cardinals waiting to see if they would be offered 2014 contracts by the Monday midnight ET deadline. They are outfielder Jon Jay, infielder Daniel Descalso and relief pitcher John Axford. All except Axford are first-timers.

Milwaukee's former closer is the only one of the four to not be offered a contract by St. Louis for 2014. By being non-tendered, Axford can now negotiate with any club, including the Cardinals.

Having made $5 million in 2013, Axford could be offered no less than a 20 percent salary cut for 2014. That is the case despite the fact his role with St. Louis was far less significant than it was with Milwaukee.

Following Monday's action, the 30-year-old still could re-sign with the Cardinals for any amount above the MLB minimum of $500,000 if both sides agree to terms. More than likely, however, Axford will look elsewhere for more money, years and perhaps a shot at closing again.

Bourjos is slated to replace Jay in centerfield for the Cardinals in 2014 with Descalso serving as a reserve infielder. With the Angels last season, Bourjos made $512,500. Jay's 2013 salary was $524,000 and Descalso was given $511,000.

The three players and the club can negotiate continually, but several deadlines are ahead to drive deals getting done. On January 17, the two sides will exchange salary figures for a one-year contract. If an agreement is not in place by February, one of the two submitted amounts will be selected following an arbitration hearing.

Earlier related article at The Cardinal Nation blog: "2014 Cardinals tender/non-tender predictions"



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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