Jay, Cardinals Avoid Hearing, Set 2-Year Deal

Centerfielder Jon Jay and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a two-year, $10.975 million contract, avoiding a scheduled arbitration hearing.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Monday that they have reached agreement with outfielder Jon Jay on a two-year contract through 2016 and have thus avoided a salary arbitration hearing that was scheduled for next week. Jay was the last of the Cardinals arbitration-eligible players who were unsigned.

Jay

Drafted by the Cardinals in 2006, the left-handed hitting Jay owns a .295 career batting average over the past five seasons (2010-14), ranking 8th among all Major League outfielders in that time span. The 30-year old Miami native had a team-best .303 batting mark in 2014, falling just 34 plate appearances shy of qualifying among the league batting leaders. He continued his solid hitting by batting .483 during the postseason, the 2nd-highest single-season postseason batting average in MLB history.

In 2012, Jay became just the third Cardinals outfielder to play errorless ball over an entire season and he leads all Cardinals fly-chasers with his .995 fielding pct. since 2010. He posted a franchise-record 245-game errorless streak by an outfielder from Aug. 25, 2011 to July 29, 2013.

Jay, who debuted with St. Louis in 2010, was a member of the Cardinals 2011 World Championship team, collecting a key hit and scoring the tying run in the 10th inning of their memorable World Series Game 6 comeback.

Brian Walton’s take

The two sides apparently needed the impending event of the arbitration hearing to get the deal done. Multiple years alone should not necessarily have been the hold up, as two other arbitration-eligible Cardinals, Lance Lynn and Jordan Walden, agreed to multi-year deals in January. One-year contracts for Tony Cruz and Peter Bourjos were also wrapped up last month, leaving Jay’s deal as the last open item for the club.

For 2014 only, Jay had filed at $5 million while the Cards offered $4.1 million. The two-year deal is worth $10.975 million. The agreed-to amount includes a $1.25 million signing bonus, a $3.5 million salary in 2015 and $6.225 million for 2016, according to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. For accounting purposes, the bonus will be considered part of the first year of the deal, I imagine. If so, Jay would exceed his 2014 midpoint of $4.55 million by $200,000.

The Floridian will be eligible for free agency for the first time following the 2016 season.

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