Matheny’s contract extended
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have extended the contract of manager Mike Matheny through the 2020 season. Matheny’s contract was set to expire at the end of the 2017 season, and the organization has finalized an extension of three additional years.
The 46-year old Matheny has been St. Louis’ manager since hired to replace the retiring Tony La Russa in 2011. This extension is his second since Matheny’s initial hire.
General Manager John Mozeliak stated the Cardinals wanted to get Matheny’s contract finalized early so his status would not be a distraction during the offseason.
The financial terms of the extension have not been released by the club.
Coaching staff finalized
At the same time Matheny’s extension was formalized, the Cardinals also announced two additions to the major league coaching staff for 2017, Oliver Marmol and Mike Shildt.
Marmol, manager of the organization’s Class A-Advanced Palm Beach minor league affiliate, has been added as the first base coach. Marmol will replace Bill Mueller, who will return to assistant hitting coach following the departure of Derrick May. Marmol, along with Mueller and bench coach David Bell, will also have the duties of infield instruction.
Shildt will assume the duties of Quality Control Coach, a new uniformed position that is used by some other Major League Baseball clubs. Shildt will assist behind the scenes with video and scouting as well as some instructional duties. Shildt was the manager of the Class Triple A Memphis Redbirds for the last two seasons and has been with the Cardinals organization since 2004.
The remainder of the coaching staff - consisting of hitting coach John Mabry, bench coach David Bell, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, third base coach Chris Maloney, bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley, and bullpen catcher Jamie Pogue - are all returning for the 2017 season.
Player option decisions made
The Cardinals announced they have declined the 2017 team options for outfielder Matt Holliday and right handed relief pitcher Jordan Walden. The club exercised the 2017 team option on left handed pitcher Jaime Garcia.
The Cardinals will pay a $1 million dollar buyout to Holliday, who has been with the team since being acquired in trade from the Oakland Athletics in 2009 and then signed to a seven year $140 million dollar contract in 2010.
Walden is set to receive $250,000 from the Cardinals to buy out his option. Both Holliday and Walden will enter the free agent market.
The Cardinals will pay Garcia $12 million dollars for 2017 as a result of exercising his option. Garcia’s tenure with the team has been injury ridden, but he had a healthy 2016 season despite ups and downs in performance.
Mozeliak stated the decision to exercise the option was an easy one, as Garcia provides rotation depth in a free agent market thin on starting pitching. Garcia could also be used as a trade chip or provide room to flip another pitcher to address other needs on the roster.
Moss unlikely to receive qualifying offer
The deadline to make qualifying offers to free agents is Monday afternoon, Nov. 7, and the Cardinals have already indicated they will not make that offer to Brandon Moss. Moss was the only Cardinal free agent seen as a potential candidate for a qualifying offer. If the Cardinals do not make the offer, Moss will enter the free agent market.
The qualifying offer amount for the 2017 season is $17.2 million dollars for a one-year contract. Players made a qualifying offer have until November 14 to accept or reject the offer. If the Cardinals made Moss the offer and he rejected it, the team would gain a compensatory draft pick in 2017 if Moss is signed by a team. However, making the offer risks the player accepting it, a risk the Cardinals are opting not to take.
Moss had a very good beginning and middle of the season with the bat, but his performance dropped off precipitously at the end of the season. The 33-year old will enter the free agent market for the third time in his major league career, and he has been traded three times as well, most recently when joining the Cardinals from Cleveland in July 2015.
Two lost via waivers
Two players who made contributions to the 2016 major league team have been claimed off outright waivers by other teams.
Left handed relief pitcher Dean Kiekhefer was claimed by the Seattle Mariners. The 27-year old made his major league debut on May 14. Kiekhefer was sent down to Memphis several times during the 2016 season but made 26 appearances out of the bullpen for a total of 22 innings pitched. The lefty finished the MLB season with an ERA of 5.32.
Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hazelbaker was in his second season with the Cardinals organization after being signed in 2015 following his release by the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Hazelbaker played for both the Springfield Cardinals and the Memphis Redbirds in 2015. Due to an injury to Ruben Tejada, Hazelbaker, drafted by the Red Sox in 2009, made St. Louis’ 2016 Opening Day roster and his MLB debut.
Hazelbaker played in 114 major league games and finished the season with a slash line of .235/.295/.480.
The departures of Kiekhefer and Hazelbaker, and the free agency of Holliday, Moss, Walden, and Jerome Williams, contracts the 40-man roster to 36 players. For the Rule 5 Draft, minor league rosters must be finalized by November 18.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
Two Cardinals were lost on waivers this past week. The Seattle Mariners claimed LHP Dean Kiekhefer, and the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed OF Jeremy Hazelbaker.
The club activated Lance Lynn, Tyler Lyons, Seth Maness, and Jordan Walden from the 60-day DL in a required formality. As Walden’s option for 2017 was declined, he has elected free agency.
The Cardinals declined the 2017 option on OF Matt Holliday.
The Cardinals exercised the 2017 option on LHP Jaime Garcia.
Mozeliak said Tyler Lyons’ injured right knee is “not responding as quickly as we hoped,” per a report from the Post-Dispatch. The lefty reliever did not pitch after July 30 as the result of a stress reaction.
This could be especially concerning, since fellow bullpen left-hander Zach Duke will miss the 2017 season due to injury.
The Hot Stove season officially began this past Thursday, the day after the end of the World Series. Monday afternoon, Nov. 7 is the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to free agents. The Cardinals have announced they will not make a qualifying offer to Brandon Moss.
The deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers is November 14. Which free agents are made qualifying offers and which are not may likely affect how the Cardinals view the available free agent market in terms of making an acquisition for the 2017 roster. Free agency is further complicated by potential changes in the coming new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Look for an announcement on the new CBA in the coming weeks.
As of late Monday, the Cardinals will have 36 players on the 40-man roster.
Baseball’s General Managers Meetings will be held this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. The three-day event starts on Monday. Along with likely discussion on the new CBA, groundwork could be laid for future trades.
December 2 is the deadline for tendering contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players. St. Louis’ arbitration eligible players are Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez. All are expected to be retained.
The Winter Meetings will be held December 5-8 in Washington D.C, including the Rule 5 Draft on the final day.
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