A comprehensive look at the St. Louis Cardinals' 2025 free agents

These St. Louis Cardinals' players could all become free agents next year one way or another.
Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) practices at
Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) practices at / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Group #3: Arbitration-eligible players

These 4 players have already started the arbitration process. While teams prefer keeping players on the roster during these precious years for cost-controlling purposes, there is always the potential at least one player isn't tendered a contract during arbitration, thus allowing him to become a free agent.

Ryan Helsley

Ryan Helsley has one more year of arbitration before becoming a free agent in 2026. He signed a 1-year deal worth $3.8 million this offseason via arbitration. He has been the team's primary closer when healthy for 2 years now, and he is looking to assume that role once again in 2024. A strong season should bode well for Helsley, and he will be extended a contract assuming he is healthy.

If Helsley experiences more injuries, particularly long-term ones, there is a small chance he won't be given a contract through the arbitration process next year. He is also a candidate for a long-term extension if he proves his viability in the back end of the bullpen once again in 2024.

Dylan Carlson

Dylan Carlson has two more years of arbitration eligibility. He is making $2.35 million in his first year of arbitration. Carlson, 25, has had a bit of a disappointing career up to this point after a successful rookie campaign in 2021. With Tommy Edman's injury, it is possible Carlson starts the season as the team's primary center fielder.

Carlson's trade value is quite high still, so even if he has a down year in 2024, the probability of him being traded rather than non-tendered a contract is greater. If he underperforms, a trade similar to that of Tyler O'Neill this offseason seems possible.

JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero had a strong season last year, vaulting himself into the discussion for a role at the back end of the bullpen. He had a 3.68 ERA in 36.2 innings with three saves and 42 strikeouts. Romero became the de facto closer once Helsley went down with an injury.

This is Romero's first year in the arbitration process, and he agreed to a contract valued at $860,000. His chances of being non-tendered next season are greater than Ryan Helsley's, but if Romero can continue to provide good innings out of the bullpen, the Cardinals will happily give him a contract next year of around $2-4 million. He will experience a salary increase in his second year of arbitration.

John King

The final player who is eligible for arbitration this year is John King. The Cardinals acquired King, 29, in a deal with the Texas Rangers for Jordan Montgomery. King has the potential to be a good reliever, and the southpaw could make the roster out of spring.

He is making just over $1 million in 2024, and he was granted a fourth season of arbitration due to his Super 2 status. He won't be a free agent until 2028. If John King underperforms or toils in the minors this year, it's possible he won't be given a contract via arbitration next year.