Breaking down the St. Louis Cardinals' arbitration projections

The Cardinals have nine players eligible for a new contract through arbitration this offseason. Who could be overpaid based on projections?
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MLB Trade Rumors publishes projections for arbitration-eligible players and their contracts. Currently, the Cardinals have 9 players who are eligible for a new salary through arbitration. There are various things that are considered during the arbitration process; playing time, statistics, position, and role on the team are all mulled over during the process. Inflation is also a factor, though it is a relatively small factor in the calculations.

In years past, the St. Louis front office has tried to avoid a hearing with the players, but they have simultaneously been staunch in their figures presented to the players. While it is always possible that a player could be extended during the process or traded, the Cardinals have typically signed deals with their players before the discussions reach an arbiter.

Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat shared MLB Trade Rumors' figures the other day. While these are just projections, they give us a good starting point for analysis.

Excluding Jacob Barnes, who will be non-tendered according to Jones, the total of those figures is $24.5 million. Tyler O'Neill and Tommy Edman account for about half of that total. JoJo Romero and Jake Woodford, however, account for the least amount. O'Neill is in the final year of arbitration, while the remaining 7 players who will receive extensions have at least one more year in arbitration after 2024. Ryan Helsley and Dakota Hudson also present interesting cases.

Typically, the teams and players present a dollar figure for the upcoming season, and they argue their points respectively. An arbiter is brought in to determine the actual value of the pending contract. While this process does give a voice to players, the contract that is dolled out falls below market value for that player most often. The process can also harm relationships between players, owners, and general managers.

Let's take a look at 4 players and their arbitration projections for the 2024 season.