Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of Nov. 2-8

Some MLB free agents are deciding on qualifying offers while others are beginning negotiations with teams that desire their services for the 2016 season. The first full week of the official offseason has begun.

The St. Louis Cardinals made qualifying offers to two free agents this week, while also making some initial roster changes to prepare for the offseason. The qualifying offers, valued at $15.8 million each, went to outfielder Jason Heyward and pitcher John Lackey, as expected. The players have until Friday, November 13 to decide whether to accept or decline. If declined, the Cardinals will pick up supplemental round draft picks in 2016 if either or both players sign with another team before the draft begins in June 2016.

The Cardinals have indicated their desire to negotiate with Heyward for a contract to remain with the club. In other roster decisions, St. Louis sent reserve infielder Pete Kozma, and reserve catchers Travis Tartamella and Ed Easley outright to the Memphis Redbirds. This move removes the three players from the 40-man roster. All three players are eligible under MLB Rule 55 to elect free agency rather than be assigned to the Memphis squad. Rule 55, called the “six year minor league free agency rule”, allows minor league players with parts of seven seasons spent in the minor leagues to elect free agency and negotiate for either major or minor league contracts with any MLB team. It is expected that all three players will make such an election.

Kozma, St. Louis’ first-round draft pick in the 2007 amateur draft, has been in the organization since then, with stints in St. Louis, both as the starting shortstop in 2013, and a reserve infielder in 2015. Kozma slashed .152/.236/.152 with the Cardinals in 2015.

Tartamella was drafted by the Cardinals in the 19th round in 2009, and has spent almost all his time with the Cardinals in the minor leagues. Tartamella had a cup of coffee with St. Louis in September 2015, going 1-for-2 in three appearances.

Easley signed as a free agent with the Cardinals in November 2013 and played primarily in Memphis. The 29 year-old appeared in four games in St. Louis in 2015, getting no hits in six at-bats.

The Cardinals also purchased the contract of outfielder Anthony Garcia from the Memphis Redbirds to keep the 23 year-old from minor league free agency. Garcia spent most of 2015 playing for the Springfield Cardinals, where he slashed .385/.400/.476 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI.

November 6 was the deadline to submit bids for the right to negotiate with Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. The Cardinals were among the teams that reportedly submitted a bid, and it was announced on Friday that a bid for $12.85 million was accepted by Park’s KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) team. The winning bidder was not revealed but is expected to be announced on Monday Nov. 9.

Transactions

RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Jonathan Broxton, LHP Randy Choate, RF Jason Heyward, RHP John Lackey, RHP Carlos Villanueva, and 1B Mark Reynolds all elected free agency.

The Cardinals sent Pete Kozma, Travis Tartamella, and Ed Easley outright to Memphis Redbirds.

RHP Carlos Martinez and RHP Jordan Walden were activated from the 60-day disabled list, in an annual off-season paperwork move.

The Cardinals purchased the contract of OF Anthony Garcia from the Memphis Redbirds, placing him on the 40-man roster.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

Friday, November 13 at 5 p.m. EST is the deadline for free agents Heyward and Lackey to accept or decline the qualifying offers made to them by the Cardinals. It is likely both will decline.

It will be revealed on Monday, Nov. 9 which team won the bid on Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. The Cardinals submitted a bid for Park, but unconfirmed reports indicate the Minnesota Twins were the winning bidder.

The 2015 General Manager Meetings will be held Nov. 9-12 in Boca Raton, FL. It is expected that the Cardinals will be meeting with the agent for Jason Heyward to begin to discuss contract terms.

The winners of the 2015 Gold Glove Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. EST. Heyward and Yadier Molina are finalists for the National League award at their positions.

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Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

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