Earlier in the offseason, when Bill DeWitt declared that the St. Louis Cardinals were prepared to bump up payroll in the next three to five years, I put together a Birdographic looking at the various years of club control the Cardinal had for the players on their roster. Since then, the Cards have traded Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. St. Louis also signed free agent Mark Reynolds as a bench bat. The Cardinals then signed reliever Jordan Walden to a two-year deal on Tuesday that guarantees his 2015 and 2016 salaries and also includes a club option for 2017. The deals got to me wondering about the way the Cardinals have structured their guaranteed deals for the years to come—especially with a potential Lance Lynn extension on the horizon and the never-ending gossip about St. Louis and big-name free agents. So I re-worked the contractual obligations graphic.
The dark green represents guaranteed major-league contract years. If the salary figured is in grey and italicized, then it is an option year. The greenish-yellow squares are league-minimum eligible seasons. The in-between green color are salary-aribtriation seasons. With the color-coding explained, I believe the rest of the graphic speaks for itself.
Correction: The original version of this chart had Seth Maness eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season and for free agency after the 2018 season, which is incorrect. Maness will be eligible for arbitration after the 2016 season and for free agency after the 2019 season.