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The 2014 St. Louis Cardinals Roster Matrix

It's that time of the year when there are no baseball games to enjoy--only baseball roster moves to fantasize about.

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals outrighted Adron Chambers, Rob Johnson, and Brock Peterson to the minors on Tuesday.'s Jenifer Langosch reported the roster moves at her By Gosh! blog. Each of the three players have filed as free agents. The transactions opened up three roster spots on the Cardinals' 40-man roster.

Tuesday's moves were the second round of transactions since the World Series' end. Last week, several veterans became free agents. Chris Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, and Edward Mujica all filed for free agency. The Cardinals declined Jake Westbrook's 2014 option and paid him $1 million not to pitch in St. Louis next season, making him a free agent as well. By the end of the day, the Cardinals had shed nearly $45 million in salary.







Carlos Beltran





- $13MM

Edward Mujica





- $3.2MM

Jake Westbrook





- $8.75MM

Chris Carpenter





- $12.5MM

Rafael Furcal





- $7.5MM






- $44.95MM

The Cardinals responded to Beltran's free agency by making the switch-hitter a $14.1 million qualifying offer. If Beltran turns down the offer, the Cardinals could gain a draft from the team that signs him. The slugger appears unlikely to accept the one-year deal. According to the Important Dates calendar, Beltran has until November 11 to decide whether to accept or decline that Cardinals' qualifying offer.

If Beltran accepts the $14.1 million, one-year deal, he will receive a $2.1 million raise from 2013 to 2014. This would make him one of many Cardinals to receive a raise next season. Some players will receive a raise per the terms of their contracts; others will receive one because they are eligible for salary arbitration under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Cardinals must decide on or before December 2 whether to tender contracts to the following arbitration-eligible players:

  • Jon Jay
  • David Freese
  • Daniel Descalso
  • Fernando Salas
  • John Axford

MLB Trade Rumors has put together a formula for projecting the salaries of arbitration-eligible players. It's been remarkably accurate in recent years. MLB Trade Rumors released the projected arbitration salaries for the Cardinals this week.

The following chart contains the salary increases that Cardinals will receive under their individual contracts as well as the projected salary increases for arbitration-eligible players from MLB Trade Rumors.





‘14-’13 Diff.

Adam Wainwright




+ $7.5MM

Jason Motte




+ $3MM

Jon Jay*




+ $2.876MM

Jaime Garcia




+ $2MM

David Freese*




+ $1.25MM

Randy Choate




+ $1.5MM

Yadier Molina




+ $1MM

Allen Craig




+ $1MM

John Axford*




+ $700K

Daniel Descalso*




+ $689K

Fernando Salas*




+ $188K





+ $21.515MM

*Arbitration-eligible player.

**MLB Trade Rumors' estimated 2014 salary.

This leads us to that good ol' VEB Hot Stove staple: The Roster Matrix. In 2014, the Cards will likely have a lot of players eligible for the league-minimum salary. According to the CBA, the 2014 league minimum is $500,000. This is merely a salary floor and clubs have discretion to pay players a higher amount. This discretion is what led Mike Trout's agent to engage in a PR campaign prior to 2013 encouraging the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to pay Trout a higher salary. The Angels wound up paying Trout $510,000 last year, which was $20,000 more than the minimum.

The Cardinals also pay players more than the league minimum. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, St. Louis paid Joe Kelly ($493,000), Shane Robinson ($498,000), Tony Cruz ($503,000), Matt Carpenter ($504,000), Daniel Descalso ($511,000), Fernando Salas ($512,000), Lance Lynn ($513,000), and Jon Jay ($524,000) more than the $490,000 league minimum in 2013. As you can see, the Cards pay players in excess of the league minimum based on MLB service time.

The 2014 Roster Matrix is a difficult one to put together at this point in the Hot Stove. There are many unknowns. Consequently, this version attempts to reflect the possibilities moving forward.

Players who are arbitration-eligible are highlighted in yellow. Beltran is in green because he has a $14.1 million offer on the table. Oscar Taveras is blue because he is not on the 40-man roster at present. In light gray are those players--Ryan Jackson, Tyler Lyons, and John Gast--currently on the 40-man roster but most unlikely to make the 25-man roster out of spring training. Lastly, there is the dead salary of WIG in dark gray.

The Cardinals may not offer every arbitration-eligible player a contract. They have already outrighted the arbitration-eligible Johnson. Other non-tender candidates include Salas and Axford, two righthanded relievers who may not be worth St. Louis giving a raise due to the number of arms they have to fill their bullpen. Some believe Freese may not be tendered a contract.

The pitching staff is also hard to project. At present, there are seven candidates for the starting rotation: Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez. Some are surer bets than others. Wainwright will start Opening Day barring injury. Garcia is a big question mark due to his shoulder injury. Which of the young starters will secure the remaining rotation spots is an open question.

Then there's the potential for a trade or free agent signing. Given the rosterbation going on in the comments section since season's end, you're all aware of these possibilities.





C - Y. Molina


IF - D. Descalso


RHP - A. Wainwright


RHP - J. Motte


1B - M. Adams


C - T. Cruz


LHP - J. Garcia


RHP - J. Axford


2B - M. Carpenter


OF - S. Robinson


RHP - L. Lynn


LHP - R. Choate


3B - D. Freese


IF - K. Wong


RHP - J. Kelly


RHP - F. Salas


SS - P. Kozma


OF - C. Beltran


RHP - S. Miller


RHP - T. Rosenthal


LF - M. Holliday


OF - O. Taveras


RHP - M. Wacha


LHP - K. Siegrist


CF - J. Jay


IF - R. Jackson


LHP - T. Lyons


RHP - S. Maness


RF - A. Craig


WIG - T. Wigginton


LHP - J. Gast


RHP - C. Martinez