The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that they agreed to one-year deals for Dylan Carlson, Ryan Helsley, John King, Andrew Kittredge, and JoJo Romero. This will avoid taking their upcoming season's contracts to an arbitration hearing. What makes this significant is that the players extended are satisfied with the money offered and teams do not have to take the player to court to be belittled by a legal mediator.
In the case of Tommy Edman, his will be taken to court. In an arbitration hearing, the team will present their contract offer to the court, as the same goes for the player. From here, both sides will argue and defend their reasonings behind what they think the contract should be valued at. This tends to create more problems than resolutions. From the 2022-2023 off-season, the reigning NL Cy Young Winner Corbin Burnes was taken to an arbitration hearing and left very disappointed and lost respect for the organization he represents. The Cardinals have had issues with their owns players in recent years like Tyler O'Neill and Ryan Helsley.
Tommy Edman is expected to be a big piece to the Cardinals roster going forward. Since 2019, Edman has not found a permanent home on the field. He is a super utility player who plugs and plays into any lineup any given day. He has won a gold glove playing 2nd base, was a finalist as a utility player, became the teams' starting shortstop during 2023, and is projected to the teams starting centerfielder in 2024. He is an elite fielder at any position on the diamond which should carry his value.
Where Edman will get ridiculed in court will be for his offense. His career OPS+ is right at 100 which is league average. He hit below average in 2023 and has done so in three out of the five seasons he has played. The same goes for his wRC+ where he sits at 99 for his career. Edman is not a power threat in the lineup and relies on getting on base and creating havoc on the base paths. a career .319 OBP will not present itself well in court. The plate discipline is elite, as Edman whiffs and strikeouts at a very low rate. But any bat-to-ball metric is in the blue for Savant data tracking.
With the arbitration deadline passing, teams will now have to proceed in court to have the mediator finalize what the player's contract will be in 2024. The Cardinals figured out how to avoid this with every single player eligible for arbitration, except Tommy Edman. Is Edman not worth the money he is projected? The team relies on him to patch any holes provided by injuries or the roster lacking depth. His game might not look valuable to the way baseball is played in 2024. But Tommy Edman is a swiss army knife to this team and that alone should carry its weight in his contract negotiations.