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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Arbitration Eligibles: St. Louis Cardinals

Arbitration Eligibles: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.
With Motte, Mujica, Boggs, Rzepczynski, and McClellan, the majority of the Cardinals' arbitration cases are relievers.  In his first full year as the Cardinals' closer, Motte racked up an impressive 42 saves with strong peripheral numbers.  The 30-year-old is under team control through 2014, and the Cardinals could reduce the cost and add a free agent year or two with an extension.  The three-year, $20MM extension signed by Carlos Marmol after the 2010 season could be a model.
Mujica came to the Cardinals at the trade deadline and allowed just three runs in 26 1/3 regular season innings.  With 30 holds this year, he's in line for a handsome raise.  Boggs posted 34 holds, and will top $1MM as a first-timer.  Rzepczynski slipped this year, but figures to be retained affordably.  McClellan spent most of the year on the disabled list, requiring shoulder surgery in July.  Earlier this month,'s Jenifer Langosch wrote that McClellan will throw for the entire month of November, which will give the Cardinals a chance to evaluate him before deciding whether to tender a contract.  Langosch expects McClellan to be non-tendered, but with the door open for a new contract.
Freese, 29, made the All-Star team this year and ultimately posted career highs in games played (144 in the regular season) and thus all relevant counting stats.  Last year's postseason heroics won't hurt at the arbitration table, either.  Is it too early to consider extending Freese, a Wildwood, Missouri native?  Freese's injuries this year were numerous but minor, though you hate to see any kind of ankle concerns still cropping up.  I think the Cards would be best-served to let 2013 play out before seriously talking extension.
Assuming everyone is tendered a contract aside from McClellan, the Cardinals are looking at a projected $12.7MM for five arbitration eligible players.

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