ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals are only one week removed from the 2022 regular season finale, and cruel fate led to an early exit from the postseason just last weekend. With that, the franchise officially turns the page to the offseason.
The Cardinals will see five players hit free agency (two on technicality) and possibly a sixth depending on Nolan Arenado’s decision regarding a possible opt-out. Additionally, 11 Cardinals with several MLB experience are arbitration-eligible and could see new deals.
This year’s free agents
- Adam Wainwright
- Jose Quintana
- Corey Dickerson
- Albert Pujols*
- Yadier Molina*
- Nolan Arenado**
*Pujols and Molina becoming free agents is a formality as the two officially retire from Major League Baseball this offseason.
**Arenado is currently not an MLB free agent, but could become one if he chooses to pursue an opt-out in his contract. If not, he will be under Cardinals’ team control through 2027.
As for St. Louis’ other free agents, Wainwright, Quintana and Dickerson, a return for the 2023 season or beyond would likely depend on mutual interest. If Quintana or Wainwright depart, the Cardinals would need to promote someone to the rotation. Dickerson had a strong second half, but St. Louis does have an abundance of outfielders at the MLB and minor-league level that could get more playing time.
- Genesis Cabrera
- Tommy Edman
- Jack Flaherty
- Ryan Helsley
- Jordan Hicks
- Dakota Hudson
- Andrew Knizner
- Tyler O’Neill
- Jordan Montgomery
- Alex Reyes
- Chris Stratton
In arbitration, salaries upcoming season are determined for players that are not yet eligible for free agency and could not come to terms on a contract by a set deadline. That said, many teams try to explore short-term or long-term contracts by the start of spring training to avoid such a process.
Every eligible player has at least three seasons of service time and most have been arbitration eligible in the past. Flaherty, Montgomery, Hicks, Reyes and Stratton all only have one year of arbitration eligibility remaining, meaning the Cardinals would need to reach agreements beyond a one-year deal if they want them to avoid free agency in 2024.
MLBTradeRumors.com predicts new deals ranging from $1 million to $10.1 million for some of the arbitration-eligible Cardinals. Tyler O’Neill, eligible for a new deal once again, could not reach an agreement with the Cardinals last season and had to settle for a $4.1 million salary through arbitration.
The Cardinals could also choose to non-tender any of these players by a deadline, in which the team does not extend a contract offer. That ultimately takes that player off the 40-man roster and leads to free agency.