In a somewhat surprising move, the St. Louis Cardinals have declined the 2021 option for second baseman Kolten Wong, making him a free agent.
Around 3:00 P.M. Central Time today, it was announced that the St. Louis Cardinals would be having a press conference at 4:30. Given that Wednesday was the deadline for team options to be announced, it was clear that this press conference would be about second baseman Kolten Wong.
At first, my thought was that they would never have an entire press conference about declining a player’s option. Surely they were going to announce they were picking it up or even announce a long-term extension for the 30-year-old.
Boy, were we wrong.
At about 4:32, the floodgates of Twitter opened as the announcement came out. The Cardinals declined the $12.5M option for Wong, electing instead to hand him $1M and send him on his way.
All of a sudden, on the same day that Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright became free agents, Kolten Wong will be joining them.
Wong was one of many players who got their options declined on Wednesday as the sport reels from a year of huge revenue losses. The main confusion here was that a) Wong’s production is worth well more than $12.5M and b) if the Cardinals didn’t want to pay Wong, picking up the option and trading him would’ve been on the table.
Now, there is the potential that all three of these core members of the past decade-plus of St. Louis Cardinals history could be gone. Or, all three could be back.
Mo made it clear that the two sides would not rule out a reunion.
As for the plans as of right now, Tommy Edman would be penciled in as the starting second baseman.
There was a lot to break down in this presser, but one thing is very clear: COVID-19 had a huge effect on the sport and it isn’t just “the Cardinals are cheap!”
We are about to see a very different offseason than what we have seen before.
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A lot of players are going to be available, but it already looks like money may not be there. The Cardinals will be cutting payroll, but we just don’t know by how much yet. Uncertainty regarding the 2021 season and whether or not fans will be in the stands is what is driving owners to cut payroll. COVID-19 is far from gone in America, and with it still here, the uncertainty will hurt baseball.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though. Wong could be back, but it’s clear it’ll have to be at a discounted price.
Understandably, fans on Twitter are upset, livid, surprised, happy? There is a ton of winter left, but we will have to wait and see what the team’s plan is for improvement.
Wong posted a heartfelt thank you to Cardinals fans on Instagram, certainly not helping anyone hoping he returns.
Wong has spent the entirety of his career in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. After seven-plus seasons, he has created a lot of memories, a lot of web gems, and great smiles.
No matter what happens from here on out, Wong will be appreciated for his time here.