18 Cardinals Youngsters Sign 2007 Contracts

18 St. Louis Cardinals players with under three years' MLB service have agreed to 2007 contracts.

In non-news news, 18 St. Louis Cardinals players on the 40-man roster with less than three years of service time agreed to one-year contracts for the 2007 season. They really had no other choice but to accept or not play.

Tuesday's announcement was that twelve pitchers signed, including right-handers Andy Cavazos, Dennis Dove, Brian Falkenborg, Blake Hawksworth, Josh Hancock, Josh Kinney, Anthony Reyes, Brad Thompson and Adam Wainwright. Left-handed hurlers Troy Cate, Chris Narveson and Tyler Johnson also agreed to terms.

Position players to reach agreement include outfielders Chris Duncan, Cody Haerther, John Rodriguez and Skip Schumaker, catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Brendan Ryan.

With these moves, the Cardinals now have every player on their 40-man roster under contract.

As a point of comparison, players with three years or more, including the top 17% of second year players, are eligible to use the arbitration process to set their salaries. All those players have been under contract for six weeks or more. So Taguchi was the last, coming to terms on a new one-year deal on January 16.

How is it decided how much these 18 recent signees make?

For the more experienced hands like Molina, who will most likely never return to the minors, the minimum Major League salary is $380,000 this year. They would earn this rate or more by either being on the Major League roster or on the Major League disabled list.

For those who are starting at least their second year on the 40-man roster or have at least one day of Major League service, the minimum salary as a minor leaguer is $60,000.

The minimum salary for first-time members of the 40-man who have no Major League experience is half the minor league minimum, or $30,000.

What about the yo-yo's?

For those who on the edge, players who may be down to Triple-A Memphis and back up during the course of the season, they will make a pro-rated salary based on the number of days at each level. In other words, they get paid the major league rate for each day of service on the major league roster.

What does this mean by individual?

I based the salary level groupings on my earlier roster projections. Eagle-eyed readers will note there are 19 names listed, as I have to assume that Travis Hanson also previously came to terms, along with the 18 announced here.

In the center column, the player's 2006 salary is listed where known (tip of the cap to Cot's Baseball Contracts). Again, in every case, the 2007 minimum salary for a major leaguer would be $380,000, $60,000 for the experienced players if in the minors and $30,000 for the new additions to the 40-man.

Technically, Yadier Molina's salary could even be cut. Instead, the Cardinals likely gave him a nice raise over his $400,000 amount in 2006. They might hope it would give them a small edge in negotiating a longer-term deal to cover some of the catcher's arbitration-eligible years, which will begin in 2008.

While there will be some differences among the major leaguers' salaries, note the close clumping of the non-starters and bullpenners' salaries last season. In 2006, Brad Thompson made only $7,000 more than the $327,000 minimum, which was $2,000 more than John Rodriguez and $5,000 more than Skip Schumaker. Adam Wainwright was at the minimum.

2007 Cardinals Projected Roster and Resulting Salary Minimums

2006 Sal 2007 Min
Make the 25-man (6)
Duncan $380K
Hancock $355K $380K
Kinney $380K
Molina $400K $380K
Reyes $380K
Wainwright $327K $380K
Miss the cut (6)
Falkenborg $60K
Johnson $60K
Narveson $60K
Rodriguez $332K $60K
Schumaker $329K $60K
Thompson $334K $60K
No-chance prospects 
(Year two - 2)
Hanson  $60K
Ryan $60K
No-chance prospects
(Year one - 5)
Cate $30K 
Cavazos $30K 
Dove $30K 
Haerther $30K 
Hawksworth $30K 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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