Beltran heads list of five Cards free agents

Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter, Edward Mujica, Rafael Furcal and Jake Westbrook are free agents, soon eligible to sign anywhere.

With the completion of the World Series, the off-season has begun in earnest the very next day. On Thursday, the Major League Players Association announced that 147 major league players will become free agents. As such, they will eligible to negotiate and sign with any club beginning five days after the Series, on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

From the St. Louis Cardinals, the four are pitchers Chris Carpenter and Edward Mujica, shortstop Rafael Furcal and outfielder Carlos Beltran. Carpenter and Furcal missed the entire season in the final year of their respective multi-year contracts.

In addition, as expected, St. Louis declined its 2014 option on Jake Westbrook, instead paying a $1 million buyout. Westbrook joins the free agent group.

Of the five, Beltran will be most desirable to other clubs. I expect the Cardinals to make him a one-year qualifying offer, which the 36-year-old will decline. The Cardinals would then collect a compensatory 2014 draft pick when Beltran signs elsewhere. Still productive, Beltran should receive multi-year bids from several suitors this winter.

Among 147 are former Cardinals Octavio Dotel (Detroit), Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker (Dodgers), Placido Polanco (Miami), Brendan Ryan (Yankees), Ronny Cedeno and Jason Marquis (Padres), Jamey Wright (Rays), Lance Berkman (Rangers) and Dan Haren (Nationals). Arbitration-eligible closer Chris Perez was also released by the Indians.

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

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