Seven St. Louis Cardinals now officially free agents

St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher T.J. McFarland throws during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS – With the World Series concluded, the business of the Major League Baseball offseason has officially kicked into gear.

On Wednesday, MLB announced the list of players who are automatically now free agents, including seven members of the St. Louis Cardinals: P Luis García, P J.A. Happ, P Kwang Hyun Kim, P Wade LeBlanc, P Jon Lester, P TJ McFarland and P Andrew Miller.

The list does not yet include players who will have 2022 options declined, which for St. Louis is expected to include Matt Carpenter and Carlos Martinez.

Garcia, Happ, LeBlanc, McFarland, and Lester were all in-season additions who helped stabilize the bullpen and rotation as the club navigated injuries to multiple members of the starting rotation in 2021. Garcia and McFarland may have pitched themselves into quality free agent contracts on the open market. LeBlanc was lost for the rest of the season after a late August elbow injury. Happ indicated late in the year that he intended to pitch in 2022. Lester has not yet committed publicly.

While the Cardinals hope to have a healthy rotation including at least Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson in 2022, the team may still explore additional starting pitching in free agency or the trade market.

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