St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Adams Arbitration Avoided

michaeldavidmiles
May 25, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) walks back to the dugout after striking out during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. The Cubs won the game 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) walks back to the dugout after striking out during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. The Cubs won the game 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Thursday that they had reached an agreement with the now-backup first baseman.

While the header above might lead some to believe this post about the St. Louis Cardinals and Matt Adams and the finalized one-year deal will be simply a news post, I have many more opinions about this news to share rather than simply spreading the headline. That said, the news is that Adams has secured $2.8M in the one-year deal.

Let’s start with the Matt Adams of the past and let me share with you my disgruntled attitude about Adams. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Adams out of Slippery Rock University in the 2009 amateur draft (23rd round). In his first season with the organization, Adams performed outstandingly in rookie/low-A posting a .355/.400/.457 slash line. Impressive, right?

Hold onto your hats. .355 is impressive but we must remember that these came in low-A. In 2010, Adams promoted to single-A where he posted a .310/.355/.541. If we examine these numbers we see that Adams bulked in the time between 2009 and 2010 such that his slugging improved but while sacrificing (slightly) batting average and OBP.

Adams played in AA and fall ball in 2011 and posted a .293/.342/.552 illustrating his continued improvement in power simultaneous to a continued decrease in batting average and OBP. Foreshadowing?

I need to pause here to recognize that at each level increase, Adams was party to additional at-bats. In 2009 in low-A, he appeared in 245 at-bats. In 2010 in single-A, Adams appeared in 464 at-bats and he appeared in 543 at-bats in AA in 2011. The increase of at-bats changes the statistics and likely accounts for the loss in average (somewhat).

2012 was Adams’ MLB debut season. He started 2012 in AAA Memphis where he appeared in 258 at-bats before his promotion posting a .329/.369/.624 slash line. The St. Louis Cardinals surely had struck gold; right? Adams appeared in eighty-six at-bats in the majors in 2012 posting a .244/.286/.384 slash. More foreshadowing?

Let’s toss those 2012 numbers out as this was his first time in the majors. In 2013, however, Adams was to spend the entirety of the season in the Bigs but only appeared in 296 at-bats thanks to injury. In his 296 at-bats, Adams posted a .284/.335/.503. Surely you are seeing the pattern here too?

2014 is probably the best example of Adams’ abilities in the majors as this was a complete season played in St. Louis. Wait, what? No it wasn’t: 2014 had Adams sidelined with injury once more. Matt accumulated 527 at-bats (almost a whole season) and posted a .288/.321/.457 line.

2015 was Adams’ first complete season in the majors in which he posted a slash line of .240/.280/.377 in only 175 at-bats. Only is the operative word here as he spent many, many days as a member of the disabled list.

Last season, Adams again enjoyed stints on the disabled list rather than serving as an everyday player. In 2016, Adams appeared in 297 at-bats posting a .249/.309/.471 slash line. If you’ve been keeping score at home, these numbers are terrible normal numbers for Adams.

Is he great? Not as of today. Is he horrid? Not as of today. Is he the best option for the St. Louis Cardinals to support Matt Carpenter at first? He certainly seems to be quite affordable for this.

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While I’m nonplussed about Adams returning, I’m also not too upset about it. $2.8M is a steal from what the Cardinals would have to pay on the market to get a player of his abilities and promise. In addition, this deal with Adams is only for 2017 so it doesn’t tie the team for seasons to come.

Let me cut to the chase here: Adams now has a season with security and one in which he can prove himself for value after the 2017 season. Should a better deal present itself, then I doubt at nothing that Mozeliak will jump at it and shop Adams.

Where the $2.8M deal makes Adams affordable for the St. Louis Cardinals, it also makes him affordable to other teams. To this end, then, I’m glad of the Cardinals made this deal. If Adams plays out well for the Cardinals, great and the money is cheap. If he doesn’t play well this season, then the organization is not at a long loss of money.

Next: Former Cardinals to Hall of Fame?

What do you think? Happy with the deal? Disappointed with the deal? Who would be better? Let me know on Twitter and go Cards!

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