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Cardinals updated payroll after arbitration agreements

Cardinals signed their arbitration eligible players for less than aniticpated

Craig Edwards

Last season, the Cardinals announced their intentions to do a file and trial when it came to arbitration. That meant, for arbitration-eligible players, if the team and the player failed to reach an agreement before the deadline to exchange numbers, the team would go to hearing. Last season, the team went to hearing and won against Michael Wacha while Carlos Martinez signed a long-term extension. That philosophy, after years of avoiding a hearing, might have paid off for the team this season.

Marcell Ozuna, Randal Grichuk, Tyler Lyons, and Michael Wacha are all arbitration-eligible this season, and all four reached agreements before the deadline to exchange numbers yesterday. Ozuna signed for $9 million, Grichuk agreed to $2.6 million, Wacha took $5.3 million and Lyons ended up with $1.2 million, per Derrick Goold.

In each case, the Cardinals beat the estimates from the formula used over at MLB Trade Rumors. In the case of Ozuna, Matt Swartz, who created the formula used for the estimates, indicated that Ozuna’s estimate might indeed be high. That seems to have been reflected in the deal Ozuna and the Cardinals reached.

The chart below shows the estimates as well as actual figures and the savings the Cardinals received.

MLBTR Estimate Actual Difference
Marcell Ozuna $10.9 M $9 M $1.9 M
Michael Wacha $5.9 M $5.3 M $0.6 M
Randal Grichuk $2.8 M $2.6 M $0.2 M
Tyler Lyons $1.3 M $1.2 M $0.1 M
TOTAL $20.9 M $18.1 M $2.8 M

With those changes, it is now time to update the Cardinals payroll for the upcoming season. The chart below reflects those changes and also lowers the estimate slightly for future seasons.

Craig Edwards

As you can see, the Cardinals payroll is at only $144 million for next season, which would be a decrease from past seasons. It remains to be seen what the Cardinals will do with the payroll room they have—and they have a lot—as none of the remaining free agents seem like great fits for the club.