St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to terms with all 21 of the previously unsigned pre-arbitration players on their 40-man roster.
The list of players includes catcher Carson Kelly; infielders Eliezer Alvarez, Greg Garcia, Edmundo Sosa, Breyvic Valera; outfielders Anthony Garcia, Randal Grichuk, Jose Martinez, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty, Magneuris Sierra; pitchers Matt Bowman, John Gant, Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, Mike Mayers, Alex Reyes, Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, Luke Weaver and Rowan Wick.
Brian Walton’s take
This annual rite of spring announcement is as much of a non-announcement as any could be. All 21 players have no choice but to “agree to terms” on their team-offered salary for the upcoming season. Either they accept, or they do not play. It is as simple as that.
The team is, of course, bound by the recently-enacted Collective Bargaining Agreement, but within that construct, they can assign salaries to their pre-arbitration players (those with less than three years of MLB service time) as they deem appropriate. Teams can and do accept input from agents so deals can be announced as "coming to terms" rather than "renewals".
Yet, when all is said and done, amounts follow a team-defined hierarchy, with the range from bottom to top being very narrow. For example, one club is said to follow a formula of $100 per MLB plate appearance above MLB minimum. Actual 2016 examples for the Cardinals will be shown below.
The major league minimum salary for 2017 has been increased to $535,000 from last year’s $507,500. The minor league minimum was bumped up to $86,500 from $82,700 last season.
The group of 21 includes two members of the 2017 starting eight position players in Grichuk and Piscotty, along with top reserves in Pham and Greg Garcia. Bullpenners projected to open the season with St. Louis include Bowman and Socolovich, followed by Lyons when healthy. Top prospect Reyes is out for the season.
Though teams do not officially announce contract amounts, they must be filed with MLB, at which point they will become known.
Last year, salaries for Cardinals players in the zero-to-three year MLB service time group ranged from the $507,500 minimum given to Bowman, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Greg Garcia to a top of $539,000 received by Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Kevin Siegrist, with the latter trio being the most experienced players.
The three pitchers all became arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2017, but followed different paths to reach their new salaries. Martinez signed a five-year, $51 million extension and Siegrist came to terms with the club on a one-year $1.6375 million deal pre-hearing. Wacha lost his arbitration hearing, so will play for $2.775 million this season.
Among the zero-to-three year players whose salaries were in-between the two extremes in 2016 were Grichuk, Lyons, Piscotty, Pham, and Mitch Harris. The latter spent the entire season on the disabled list, but still received MLB salary and accrued service time, as Reyes will do this year. However, Harris was outrighted off the 40-man roster last fall and should be on a minor league contract for 2017, unless he earns his way back to St. Louis.
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