Cards, Lynn Settle on Three Years, Cruz One

The St. Louis Cardinals avoided arbitration with right-handed starting pitcher Lance Lynn, catcher Tony Cruz and centerfielder Peter Bourjos. The former received a three-year deal.

Cardinals Press Release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have reached agreement with right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn on a three-year contract (2015-17), thus avoiding salary arbitration. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Lance,” stated Cardinals Senior V.P./General Manager John Mozeliak. “His performance has led to much success for both he and the Cardinals organization, and we look forward to his continued growth as both a pitcher and team leader.”

Drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round (39th player overall) of the 2008 amateur draft, Lynn has compiled a 49-28 career won-loss mark with a 3.46 ERA in 119 games (97 games started). Since debuting in 2011, Lynn has been a member of a Cardinals team that has reached the postseason for a franchise-record four consecutive seasons with Lynn having appeared in a franchise-record 23 postseason games.

Lynn’s 48 wins since 2012 are the 3rd-highest amongst National League pitchers, trailing only teammate Adam Wainwright (53) and the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw (51). Lynn also ranks among N.L. leaders in games started (95-T7th) and innings pitched (581.1-11th) since 2012 and his 59 quality starts since 2012 rank 10th.

Lynn is one of just three pitchers (Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke) in the majors to have won 15 or more games in each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 18 during his 2012 All-Star campaign. He and Wainwright joined Hall-of-Famer Bob Gibson (1970-72) this past season as the last Cardinals to have struck out 175 or more batters in three consecutive seasons.

Lynn, 27, is ranked 5th among active Major League pitchers in winning pct. (.636) and the Cardinals have gone 60-37 in his 97 career starts. The Indiana native is 27-12, 2.80 ERA in his 57 career appearances at Busch Stadium III, ranking 4th among the stadium’s all-time wins leaders.

Lynn matched his career high with 33 starts in 2014 and produced a career-low 2.74 ERA (9th in N.L.) while logging a second-straight season with over 200 innings pitched. The 6-5, 240-pound right-hander twirled his first career complete-game shutout on May 27 vs. the Yankees in a 6-0 win.

With today’s signing of Lynn, the Cardinals now have three remaining arbitration eligible players: Peter Bourjos, Tony Cruz and Jon Jay.

Brian Walton’s take

Within minutes of this announcement, numerous sources also disclosed that Cruz came to terms on a one-year, $775,000 contract to continue as Yadier Molina’s reserve at catcher.

Earlier this off-season, club officials reportedly looked for a better back-up than the .225-career hitting Cruz but failed. They asserted none of their veteran catching targets were willing to join the Cardinals due to the expected minimal workload. Hence, Cruz' return.

The Lynn contract at $22 million for the next three seasons seems a fair price for both sides. The deal includes a set of incentives worth an additional $1.5 million if achieved. It is worth noting that there appear to be no option years, meaning Lynn did not give up any of his free agent time.

This deal is simply about three of cost-certain years of service for the right-hander. Lynn was expected to earn a first-year arbitration record of $5.5 million of more for this season. Now, the player and club will not have to enter the process in 2016 or 2017, either.

The club carries risk of injury while the player, with continued strong performance, probably could have squeezed out higher annual salaries going year-to-year.

In other news, Lynn christened a twitter account, @lancelynn31.

Update one

Thursday evening, reserve centerfielder Peter Bourjos came to terms with the Cardinals on a one-year, $1.65 million contract.

Update two

On Friday, the Cardinals and Jay exchanged salary amounts with the team offering $4.1 million and Jay filing at $5 million.

Remember, to see the entire Cardinals system by position and level on one page, along with all transactions year-round, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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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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