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St. Louis Cardinals 2015 roster matrix updated with arbitration salary projections

MLB Trade Rumors has released its annual salary projections for arbitration-eligible players, which means it's time to update the 2015 roster matrix.

Thearon W. Henderson

Under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that governs labor relations in Major League Baseball, there is a tiered salary system for big-leaguers based on the accrual of major-league service time.

League Minimum

Up until the season after a major-leaguer accrues three years of MLB service time, he is guaranteed only the league minimum. For players who make their rookie debut midseason or who are demoted to Triple-A and later recalled, this often means his parent club has him for four seasons at the league minimum because he doesn't become arbitration eligible until the offseason after the season during which he notches three years of MLB service time. This is what happened to Lance Lynn. The righty made his big-league debut during the 2011 season and is only just now arbitration eligible in the winter after his fourth season playing in the majors.

In 2014, the MLB league minimum was $500,000. Clubs have discretion to pay players more than the minimum. This is something the Cardinals do; they pay more based on seniority, but not much more. The highest paid Cardinal who was eligible only for the league minimum in 2014 was Lance Lynn, who earned $535,000; or, $35,000 more than the league minimum.


After accruing three years of MLB service time, a player become eligible for salary arbitration. Most players never reach an arbitration hearing to set their salary. Instead of the either/or proposition of such a hearing, in which an arbitrator hears both the club and player's arguments for what the player's salary should be for the following season and then chooses one or the other, most players and clubs work out a contract in order to avoid arbitration. The Cardinals did this with Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos, and Daniel Descalso last season.

Generally, a player who is eligible for his first arbitration salary earns approximately 40% of what he would earn on the open market as a free agent. Year two brings a salary about 60% of that. And the third year of salary arbitration means a player receives a salary estimated to be 80% of what he would earn on a one-year free-agent contract.

2015 Arbitration-Eligible Cardinals

The following Cardinals are arbitration eligible for 2015:

  • Daniel Descalso (ARB 2)
  • Jon Jay (ARB 2)
  • Peter Bourjos (ARB 2)
  • Lance Lynn (ARB 1)
  • Shane Robinson (ARB 1)
  • Tony Cruz (ARB 1)

General manager John Mozeliak stated the Cardinals' intention to tender a contract to each of them, which will trigger the salary-arbitration process. If the Cards don't trade any of them, each will receive a guaranteed deal that is either determined by an arbitrator or negotiated by the player and club prior to an arbitration hearing.

MLB Trade Rumors has developed a system for projecting the salaries of arbitration-eligible players that has proven rather accurate over the years. This week, MLBTR released their 2015 projections. They are:

  • Daniel Descalso, $1.4 million
  • Jon Jay, $4.5 million
  • Peter Bourjos, $1.6 million
  • Lance Lynn, $5.5 million
  • Shane Robinson, $500,000
  • Tony Cruz, $700,000

It's time to update the good ol' Cardinals roster matrix with that information, which will give us a better idea of the salaries St. Louis will be paying next season. I've also updated the league-minimum salaried players with estimates of their 2015 salary.





C - Y. Molina


OF - P. Bourjos


RHP - A. Wainwright


LHP - R. Choate


1B - M. Adams


IF - D. Descalso


LHP - J. Garcia


LHP - M. Gonzales


2B - K. Wong


C - T. Cruz


RHP - J. Lackey


RHP - T. Rosenthal


3B - M. Carpenter


IF - P. Kozma


RHP - L. Lynn


RHP - S. Maness


SS - J. Peralta


OF - S. Robinson


RHP - S. Miller


RHP - C. Martinez


LF - M. Holliday


RHP - M. Wacha


LHP - K. Siegrist


CF - J. Jay


RHP - S. Tuivailala


RF - R. Grichuk










The Cardinals currently have a total of a little over $103 million committed to 2015 big-league payroll.