The current group includes pitchers Mitchell Boggs, Jaime Garcia, Blake Hawksworth, Josh Kinney, Charlie Manning, Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Chris Perez and Matt Scherer; infielders Brian Barden, Tyler Greene, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Brendan Ryan; outfielders Brian Barton, Joe Mather, Skip Schumaker and Nick Stavinoha. (Note the club called Schumaker an outfielder in their release, not me!)
All 17 players have less than three years of Major League service time and as such, are not yet eligible for arbitration. This announcement is a mere formality since in setting these players' salaries, the Cardinals are basically bound only by good faith and the minimum MLB salary, which for 2009 is $400,000.
Looking ahead, following is the status of these players in terms of future arbitration eligibility. This is where things will get interesting in the future, as they receive an opportunity to secure large salary increases in years three through five while ramping up to free agency at year six.
The 17 players are ordered by their current service time, which is measured in years.days, where 172 days is a full season. Next to that is when they would likely reach arbitration eligibility if they would remain in the majors the entire time between now and then, an unrealistic scenario for many. The final column is my projection as to when the player might actually achieve the necessary service time.
|Player||MLB Service||Soonest arb||Forecast arb|
|Josh Kinney||2.058||after 2009||after 2009|
|Skip Schumaker||2.051||after 2009||after 2009|
|Brendan Ryan||1.082||after 2010||after 2010|
|Kyle McClellan||1.000||after 2010||after 2010|
|Brian Barton||1.000||after 2010||after 2011|
|Chris Perez||0.136||after 2010||after 2010|
|Charlie Manning||0.129||after 2010||after 2011|
|Joe Mather||0.098||after 2011||after 2011|
|Jaime Garcia||0.081||after 2012||after 2012|
|Brian Barden||0.072||after 2011||after 2011|
|Nick Stavinoha||0.053||after 2011||never|
|Mitchell Boggs||0.039||after 2011||after 2012|
|Jason Motte||0.027||after 2011||after 2011|
|Blake Hawksworth||0.000||after 2011||never|
|Matt Scherer||0.000||after 2011||never|
|Tyler Greene||0.000||after 2011||after 2013|
|Jarrett Hoffpauir||0.000||after 2011||never|
Note that both Kinney and Schumaker are seemingly locks to become eligible for arbitration following this season. Kinney has accrued the majority of his two-plus years of service while on the disabled list. For those players noted with "never", I am not being rude, but it is not realistic to assume all 17 players will remain major leaguers long enough to gain three years of service.
Another interesting player to note is Chris Perez. Due to the service time accrued in 2008, if he remains in the majors for all of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, he will probably become eligible during the winter of 2010-2011 as a "super two". That is a special rule that enables the top 17% of MLB's two-year service time players the same arbitration eligibility as all of the three-to-six year players.
Bottom line, if the Cardinals were to manage their roster solely to minimize spending money, they would find a way for Perez to spend part of this season or next back in Memphis. This could also be a factor in the timing of Colby Rasmus' MLB introduction, as I have discussed previously.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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