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St. Louis Cardinals roster matrix: For 2015, what salary is coming off the books and who are getting raises?

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The Cardinals will see some unproductive payroll come off the books for 2015.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 St. Louis Cardinals season is over, but the offseason hasn't quite started yet. There's that pesky World Series to get out of the way. But after the Giants and Royals play to October's final out, the Hot Stove begins.

The roster upheaval of the offseason typically consists of several steps, some of which overlap:

  • Free agency (players leaving as free agents or signing as the same)
  • Arbitration (players being non-tendered or receiving a raise via arbitration or a negotiated agreement to avoid arbitration)
  • Non-tender (players are removed from the 40-man roster and become free agents)
  • Trades

Obviously, we don't know what trades, if any, the Cards might make this Hot Stove. But we know who will become free agents, who are arbitration eligible, and who will receive a raise for the 2015 season. Using the information at Cot's Baseball Contracts, I put together the following table which shows the Cardinals who will become free agents after the World Series and what their 2014 salaries were.

PLAYER

POSITION

‘14 GAMES

fWAR

rWAR

‘15-’14 Diff.

Jason Motte

RP

29

-0.7

-0.2

-$7.5MM

Mark Ellis

2B

73

-0.4

-0.3

-$5.25MM

Ty Wigginton

WIG

-

-

-

-$2.5MM

Justin Masterson

SP

9

-0.9

-0.5

-$3.27MM*

Pat Neshek

RP

71

1.8

2.3

-$1MM

A.J. Pierzynski

C

30

-0.3

-0.6

-$200K*

John Lackey

SP

10

0.4

-0.3

-$4.82MM**

TOTAL

-

212

-0.1

0.7

-$24.54MM

*The Cardinals did not have Masterson or Pierzynski for the entire season. Details of Pierzynski's contract are sparse, so I assumed that he made a pro-rated share of the league minimum with the Cardinals. Likewise, Masterson's is an approximation of the pro-rated share of his $9.8 million 2014 salary.

**Lackey is under contract for 2015, so his games, fWAR, and rWAR are not included in the totals line. However, the difference between an approximation of his pro-rated 2014 salary and his $500,000 club option for 2015 has been included in the salary coming of the books total.

To the money coming off the books total, we can add another $500,000 as Jhonny Peralta's salary will drop from $15.5MM to $15MM. This brings the Cards' total dollar being freed up to a smidgeon over $25MM.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Cards are unlikely to re-sign any of their free agents, including Motte or Neshek:

The Cardinals won't make any qualifying offers, and it's likely that they won't retain any of those five free agents. Ellis and Pierzynski are nearing -- or perhaps at? -- the end of their careers. The non-waiver Trade Deadline deal that brought in Masterson proved to be a bust for the Cardinals. Motte, a lifetime Cardinal, is at a crossroads after struggling in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. And Neshek, with a stupendous season, likely priced himself out of the Cardinals' bullpen plans.

A few Cardinals will receive a raise in their 2015 salaries. The following chart shows them.

PLAYER

POSITION

‘14 SALARY

‘15 SALARY

‘15-’14 Diff.

Jaime Garcia

SP

$7.875MM

$9.375MM

+$1.5MM

Matt Carpenter

3B

$1.25MM

$3.75MM

+$2.5MM

Aledmys Diaz

SS

$1MM

$2MM

+$1MM

TOTAL

-

$10.125MM

$15.125MM

+$5MM

These are the only guaranteed raises contained in contracts to which the Cardinals are a party. Players who are arbitration eligible will wind up on a one-year contract for 2015. We don't know what those raises will be yet but there are some players set to earn a raise via arbitration. The Cardinals who are arbitration eligible this offseason are:

  1. Lance Lynn, SP
  2. Jon Jay, OF
  3. Peter Bourjos, OF
  4. Daniel Descalso, IF
  5. Tony Cruz, C
  6. Shane Robinson, OF

It seems like a good bet that the Cards won't offer arbitration to every player so eligible. Robinson appears a non-tender candidate with the St. Louis outfield already crowded and Stephen Piscotty having completed a full season in Triple-A in 2014. After manager Mike Matheny found Daniel Descalso just 184 plate appearances in 2014, one wonders how long he is for the Cardinals organization. And there could always be a trade like last year with David Freese and Fernando Salas.

Right now, the Cardinals 2015 roster matrix looks like this:

STARTERS

BENCH

ROTATION

BULLPEN

C - Y. Molina

$14.2MM

OF - P. Bourjos

????

RHP - A. Wainwright

$19.5MM

LHP - R. Choate

$3MM

1B - M. Adams

$516K

IF - D. Descalso

????

LHP - J. Garcia

$9.375MM

LHP - M. Gonzales

$500K

2B - K. Wong

$500K

C - T. Cruz

????

RHP - J. Lackey

$500K

RHP - T. Rosenthal

$521K

3B - M. Carpenter

$3.75MM

IF - P. Kozma

$510K

RHP - L. Lynn

????

RHP - S. Maness

$509K

SS - J. Peralta

$15MM

OF - O. Taveras

$500K

RHP - S. Miller

$535K

RHP - C. Martinez

$500K

LF - M. Holliday

$17MM

OF - S. Robinson

????

RHP - M. Wacha

$510K

LHP - K. Siegrist

$510K

CF - J. Jay

????



RHP - S. Tuivailala

$500K

RF - R. Grichuk

$500K




As the offseason progresses, we'll update the roster matrix with players and salary figures, but this ought to be enough to get the rosterbation started.

Correction: In the original version of this post, the departing salary chart had the incorrect fWAR total for players leaving. It has been corrected.