The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have reached an agreement with one of their surplus outfielders avoiding arbitration. This does not, however, guarantee he is staying.
The St. Louis Cardinals have avoided arbitration with Randal Grichuk by agreeing to a $2.6M, one-year extension. While he isn’t guaranteed a starting position, Grichuk’s completed deal helps him avoid a battle in arbitration.
With Grichuk coming off the arbitration board, this leaves the St. Louis Cardinals needing to reach agreements or face arbitration negotiations with Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha, and Tyler Lyons. That’s right, the newly-grabbed Ozuna needs to receive an offer from the Cardinals in terms of his salary for 2018.
Back to Grichuk… Grichuk is under team control until 2021 and 2018 was his first time facing arbitration. In 2015, Randal was paid $510,000 (league minimum) which was followed by the league min again in 2016 at $520,000. Last season, he was again paid the minimum at $557,200.
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This means the agreement reached today is a sizeable raise for the assumed fourth or fifth outfielder for the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals.
Here’s the deal, though, the St. Louis Cardinals might have done one of two kind things for Grichuk: either he is now guaranteed to make a sizeable salary to sit on a bench and/or the Cards have guaranteed a nice check for him in a new organization.
To that latter point, Grichuk’s new salary, a steal for an organization seeking an outfielder with MLB experience during their rebuild, makes him highly attractive. Perhaps the Cardinals have plans to move Grichuk but with the slow offseason and with free agents moving extremely slowly, Randal’s 2018 figure may make him an attractive fall-back for a team hoping for a big-dollar FA.
For those who take umbrage with the paragraph above, on the flip side of things is the idea that Grichuk has just been told and shown by the St. Louis Cardinals organization that they expect him to perform and are putting their money where their mouth is.
Additionally, this move, should we ascribe to the idea that the Cardinals extended Grichuk with today’s move (albeit only one season) in order to keep him, should tell Harrison Bader that his future with the St. Louis Cardinals could be in question.
I, for one, believe that today’s move with Grichuk makes him easier to trade. At least I hope this is the case.
What do you think? Let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading. Also, stay tuned as we will be posting an interview with the one-and-only Harrison Bader in the coming days.