Mulder Back in Cards Fold

The St. Louis Cardinals and free agent lefty Mark Mulder have come to terms on a new contract - at long last!

The St. Louis Cardinals and free-agent pitcher Mark Mulder have come to terms on a two-year contract with a club option that will keep the left-handed starter in St. Louis until at least the 2008 season and perhaps through 2009.

Peter Gammons of ESPN said the guaranteed portion is for two years and $13 million and if Mulder makes 30 starts in 2007 and 2008, incentives can make the deal worth three years and $45 million.

My sources told me that after months of negotiations, this apparently finally came to pass because the Cardinals matched the contracts offered by the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. I was also told this agreement was made pending completion of a physical.

Mulder underwent surgery in mid-September to repair a partial tear of his rotator cuff in his left, pitching shoulder. He could miss as much as half the 2007 season as he recovers.

With the Winter Warm-Up this coming weekend and the Baseball Writers' Dinner next Monday, the Cardinals were motivated to make a splash to help re-energize an up-and-down off-season to date.

Earlier this week, Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty personally traveled to Arizona to finalize arrangements with Mulder and his agent Gregg Clifton. Our spies may have spotted Walt at the National Championship football game on Monday night, as well…

I am told the club believes they are making progress with Jeff Weaver, but that deal is still probably some distance away. Negotiations with outfielder Preston Wilson to return for 2007 appear to be moving toward a successful conclusion.

Mulder's addition along with that of Ryan Franklin puts the Cardinals' 40-man roster back at capacity. Any further player additions will cause another to be dropped.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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