Dec 1, 2009, 9:05 PM EDT
St. Louis has offered arbitration to Matt Holliday, Joel Pineiro, and Mark DeRosa while passing on Troy Glaus. Obviously the Holliday decision was a no-brainer, but there was quite a bit of speculation that the Cardinals might pass on offers to Pineiro or DeRosa.
Both players are Type B free agents and the Cardinals wanted to secure draft picks if they sign elsewhere, but the risk is that Pineiro and DeRosa may simply accept one-year deals via arbitration. Of course, that’s hardly a bad thing. And it’s not very likely, either.
Pineiro is coming off a career-year, thriving under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan while going 15-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 214 innings. His minuscule strikeout rate and spotty track record make a regression likely for 2010, but the Cardinals should be happy to welcome him back for a one-year commitment and odds are that at least a few teams will offer him multi-year deals.
DeRosa may have a harder time finding a multi-year contract because he struggled through a wrist injury while batting just .250/.319/.433 in 139 games and turns 35 years old soon. Still, he seems likely to get a two-year deal somewhere and if not retaining him for a one-year commitment would hardly be disastrous for St. Louis. In fact, generally speaking teams are far too risk-averse when it comes to offering arbitration to solid veterans.
Unless there are some significant payroll limitations in place and the player accepting arbitration would throw the entire offseason plan out of whack, the possibility that a solid veteran will accept a one-year deal is often a positive thing. When the Cardinals acquired DeRosa from the Indians at midseason they’d surely have jumped at the chance to lock him up for 2010 at a reasonable price, and that’s exactly what the “downside” to offering him arbitration entails.
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