The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to financial terms with five of their seven arbitration-eligible players on Tuesday, setting up possible hearings with two of their three starting outfielders.
Various media reports confirmed that starter Jack Flaherty agreed to a $5 million contract, starter Dakota Hudson agreed to a $1.05 million contract, and reliever Jordan Hicks agreed to a $937,500 contract.
Relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes also reached an agreement, although financial terms were not immediately available. The Cardinals did not officially confirm any of the amounts.
Outfielders Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill did not agree to their 2022 salaries before Tuesday’s noon central deadline for players and teams to trade figures. The Cardinals, in recent years under president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, have been known as a “file and trial” team; once the figures have been exchanged, the club’s policy is to proceed to a hearing, barring the agreement of a long-term contract.
A source said Tuesday that the Cardinals and O’Neill haven’t had any discussions about the contract.
Bader is in his second year of arbitration eligibility and O’Neill is in his first. Both had breakout seasons in 2021 from which they built their case for significant salaries, with Bader winning his first Gold Glove and O’Neill winning his second in a row and finishing eighth in NL MVP voting.
Flaherty and the Cardinals went to a hearing in 2021 to determine the right-hander’s salary, and Flaherty emerged victorious. It was the club’s first loss in an arbitration hearing since 1994, when first baseman Gregg Jefferies was ruled in favor.
The Cardinals also announced that they have reached agreements with 20 of their 21 eligible players prior to arbitration. Right fielder Dylan Carlson, the third starter along with Bader and O’Neill, renewed his salary, meaning it was dictated by the team rather than mutually agreed upon.
Flaherty twice opted for renewal in lieu of the deal in the pre-arbitration period of his career, trying to avoid being booked by accepting a lower salary than he believed reflected his true value. Hicks once did the same thing.
The Cardinals, in each of those years, gave pitchers a salary of $10,000 less than their starting offer, reflecting a penalty for refusing the amount offered by the team.
spring training update
Tuesday also saw the first cuts of spring training, as the Cardinals sent left-handed reliever Brandon Waddell to Memphis’ Triple-A roster and assigned pitcher Trent Baker, catcher Pedro Pages and infielders Luken Baker. Delvin Perez and top prospect Jordan Walker. to minor league camp.
Under the terms of the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement, a player can only qualify for the minor leagues five times in a given year before requiring placement on waivers to be removed from the major league roster. Waddell’s assignment marks the first, and for the Cardinals, the first such move to be tracked under the new rules.