Notebook: GM Meetings, Day 2

Day 2 of the General Manager Meetings in Orlando, Florida took place today. Unlike yesterday, we’ll just go ahead and call this “Stanton Day” as we finally have everyone involved playing games with media leaks.

Stanton’s price too high?

Buster Olney reported this morning that rival executives believe that the Marlins’ asking price for Giancarlo Stanton is “shockingly high and somewhat out of touch with reality.”

This probably means that the Marlins don’t want to eat much contract, but still want to receive meaningful prospects in return. Given that Stanton’s remaining deal is not extreme for what he is and similar to what he would receive in free agency, I think the Marlins do have a point. Unfortunately, everyone knows their motivations for wanting to move him.

Trying to sift fact from fiction on Stanton is difficult because so much has been bouncing around that it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s just pure discussion while frustrated that nothing’s happening. But I’m growing to believe that Stanton is willing and wanting to stay in Miami, but would prefer to win. This is why he can be as picky as it sounds like he’s willing to be. Because the worst case is living somewhere he wants to be. I’m growing convinced that this is not a “get out of town at all costs” situation.

Rays listening on players?

Jon Heyman reported this morning that the Rays are listening to other teams on many of their players. Some listed in the article as potential candidates are Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, and potentially even Evan Longoria who is just shy of receiving 10/5 rights (after 10 years in the league, five years with a franchise gives players the ability to block a trade).

Given what the Rays said yesterday about Archer being one of the guys they intend to build around, I find it doubtful that they’re too serious about dealing him, but there are a number of players here I’d have interest in if I were the Cardinals.

I think Odorizzi could benefit from a move out of the AL East. He had a rough summer, but otherwise put together a decent year. I can’t imagine he would cost that much given his recent struggles and he should be cheap enough that you could cut him loose if he doesn’t figure it out. I really like Colome, their closer. And Kiermaier may be the best defensive center fielder in baseball. To give you an idea of how good, Kiermaier missed time with a hip fracture last season and was still worth 5+ WAR thanks to his defense.

Stanton won’t accept a trade to Red Sox or Cardinals?

Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reported this morning a source tells him that Stanton will not accept a trade to the Red Sox or the Cardinals. Those were the two teams believed just yesterday to be most heavily pursuing him.

Whether this is just gamesmanship at this point is the question. The Marlins are the gatekeeper. They’re setting the standard of the kind of return they want to get before they present Stanton the option to say yes or no. And then it’s up to Stanton to decide what he wants to do.

Derrick Goold discussed how no trade clauses can affect trade discussions between teams, using Houston’s Justin Verlander pursuit as the example. However the distinct difference there is that Houston was leading the AL East and was poised to be the best team in the American League. The Cardinals won 83 games and finished third in the NL Central, falling further back from postseason contention than they were the year before. Filling the club’s other needs may be the key to convincing Stanton that St. Louis is a worthy destination.

Seven teams have checked in on Stanton?

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that as many as seven teams have inquired about what it would take to trade for Stanton.

Obviously there’s no more information here beyond teams checking in. This could be ask easy as someone asking what it would take, laughing, and then walking away to go sign J.D. Martinez. That’s what we don’t know. But obviously a player of Stanton’s caliber being available is worth doing your due diligence on. The last thing you want his him going somewhere else for a price you definitely would have paid.

Stanton hasn’t ruled out any destination?

Battle of the conflicting reports. Evan Drelich of NBC Sports reported this afternoon that according to a source with knowledge of Stanton’s thinking he has not ruled out any potential destinations.

And just like that the Cardinals have a chance again. Obviously there’s the battle of leverage being played out. The more destinations it seems like Stanton might have, the more likely an organization is to increase their offer in an effort to get past the gatekeeper. If the world knew Stanton only wanted to play for one or two franchises, the Marlins have much less bargaining power.

Cardinals have talked to Morrison?

Rob Rains reported this afternoon that the Cardinals have had conversations with first baseman Logan Morrison. It was reported yesterday by Jon Heyman that the Cardinals were exploring options at first base and Morrison has been linked with the Cardinals before.

Morrison hit 38 home runs last season to go along with a .246/.353/.516 batting line. He had a 135 OPS+ after being a barely above average Major League player for the previous seven seasons. In fact, before he posted a 3.6 WAR this season, he had never had more than the 1.4 WAR he put up in 99 games with Seattle in 2014.

Certainly Morrison’s 2017 was nice, but he has more track record as a middle of the road hitter than he does as a middle of the order hitter. And the Cardinals have plenty of the former already.

Cardinals interested in Ohtani?

Rains also reported that the Cardinals do have interest in Shohei Ohtani if he does get approved by the MLB and posted. Ohtani has said that money is not his primary factor and wants to continue to play two ways. One would think the Cardinals would have to let him both pitch and play in the outfield in order to nab him since they have a maximum bonus cap of $300,000 for international free agents, much less than other teams who aren’t under penalty.

On top of whatever they pay Ohtani in signing bonus, they would have to pay the $20 million posting fee in addition.

Carpenter to be “super utility guy”

Derrick Goold reported this evening that the Cardinals have told Matt Carpenter he should prepare to be a “super utility guy” in 2018 depending on who the team acquires and what they do this winter.

I’m sure many of us collectively cringe when they hear that. I’m not opposed to the idea of Matt Carpenter defensively at first base, second base, third base, or even a corner outfield spot. However, I do note when looking at his defensive metrics that he is generally better overall when he plays one position. His worst defensive seasons have come when he’s been bouncing around the infield. That’s a concern to me.

Also is the shoulder if rest doesn’t fix it. Last season he discussed the shoulder hurting him when he threw. Will he really be able to play a position that asks him to throw the ball regularly? And if he elects to play through the pain once again, is the team prepared to take a diminished offensive Carpenter?

Reyes to miss opener, begin as reliever

Rick Hummel reported this evening that the Cardinals intend to have Alex Reyes begin his season around May 1st and putting him into the bullpen depending on the team’s needs. John Mozeliak said that he believes Reyes would be ready on Opening Day, but this is to watch his innings and ensure that he is available at the end of the season. There’s also some notes in there about Sandy Alcantara.

This confirms what I’ve been suggesting since the beginning that they will bring Reyes along slowly. No need to push him into the rotation out of the gate this year, even though Mozeliak indicates he believes Reyes will be ready.

Notebook: GM Meetings, Day 1

Today was the first day of the General Manager Meetings in Orlando, Florida. I’ve gone ahead and put together a notebook recap of the pertinent Cardinals’ related rumors to catch you up. And, to answer everyone’s first question, there has been no substantive movement on Giancarlo Stanton today.

Cardinals looking at Darvish, Arrieta and starting pitching trades?

Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman who indicated this morning that the Cardinals were looking at Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, but would be exploring the trade market for a starting pitcher first.

In the article he links to, he writes that the Cardinals met with agents from the Wasserman Group for an hour last night and discussed pitching. Wasserman represents Giancarlo Stanton, but on the pitching side also represents free agents Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, and Addison Reed.

I’ve argued since before the 2017 season that the Cardinals will have a need at starting pitcher next season, but this is the team’s first real admission that they might be uncomfortable entering 2018 with a rotation that consists of two rookies, a former ace who had back and arm issues last season, a pitcher who literally gets hurt by pitching too much, and Carlos Martinez.

I still prefer Lance Lynn to Darvish and Arrieta, however. Especially if his contract falls to the kind of numbers that MLB Trade Rumors and Fangraphs has suggested it will. I know looking purely at results is frowned upon, but he had the best of the three. And I think there are other reasons why his more advanced metrics were bad other than them just being a precursor to marked decline.

But given the wording of the article, Heyman’s sources could have been intentionally vague to make it seem as if the Cardinals could be interested in more than they are.

Beltran retires & getting looks as Yankees manager?

Carlos Beltran became a World Series champion with the Houston Astros just a couple weeks ago and there were rumors that he would retire following the season. And today he confirmed those as he officially announced his retirement in a post over at The Players’ Tribune.

In addition, there’s some speculation that he could be considered for the Yankees’ open managerial position.

Cardinals exploring first base options?

Another report from Jon Heyman this afternoon, indicates that the Cardinals are exploring options at first base. Available free agent first base options that could interest the Cardinals at the top of the board include Eric Hosmer and Carlos Santana. An intriguing thought could be Adam Lind in a playing time share with Jose Martinez at first base.

The move would most likely mean Matt Carpenter would slide back across the diamond to third base full time. Martinez had a strong season with a 135 wRC+ that ranked second on the Cardinals and 30th among MLB players who appeared in at least 100 games.

Cardinals want to sign “multiple” relievers?

In his notes about today’s happenings in Orlando, Derrick Goold pointed out the Cardinals’ interest in signing some bullpen help. He pointed out that General Manager Michael Girsch indicated that they want to sign “multiple” relievers and that the meeting last night with the agent for Darvish, Morrow, and Reed may have been to discuss the fits for the two latter named players rather than the first.

News: Adam Wainwright picks up sought after Silver Slugger

What happened. St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright named by Louisville Slugger as the best hitting pitcher in the National League in 2017.

The story. The “Silver Slugger Award” is presented by Louisville Slugger to the best offensive player at every position in the American League and the National League. The winner is determined by votes from managers and coaches.

The numbers. Adam Wainwright posted a slash line of .262/.279/.452 with a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs in 42 at bats this season. He led all Cardinals pitchers in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, runs scored, and tied for the lead in runs batted in.

On April 21st against Milwaukee, he went 2-for-3 and hit a two run home run to put the Cardinals on top 2-1. And then hit a two RBI single in the next inning to stretch the lead to four runs.

His next home run came on June 1st against the Dodgers. He hit a two-run home run to put the Cardinals on top 2-0 and the score would stay that way.

On July 22nd against Chicago, he only went 1-for-3, but that hit broke up a perfect game bid by Jon Lester in the sixth inning.

Wainwright led the his fellow pitchers in runs scored, batting average, slugging percentage and tied with Cardinals’ teammate Carlos Martinez in runs batted in with 11. He was second in home runs behind Madison Bumgarner, who started just 17 games this season.

He had a .462 batting average this season with runners in scoring position.

Over the past two seasons now, Wainwright has hit .231/.252/.452 with 9 doubles, a triple, 4 home runs, and 29 RBI in 119 plate appearances. Projected out to 600 plate appearances, that puts Wainwright on pace for 45 doubles, 5 triples, 20 home runs, and 146 RBI.

The impact. 3/10. This was an award that Wainwright had spoken of wanting to win many times.

Wainwright becomes the third Cardinals’ pitcher to win a Silver Slugger Award since they began giving out the award in 1980, joining Bob Forsch and Jason Marquis.

Offseason Outlook: Payroll

It seems like every time there’s a question about the St. Louis Cardinals making a big signing or a big trade that inevitably it gets asked whether the club can afford to make it. Call it having a small market mindset. While the Cardinals are a small market, they get incredible fan support. And because of that fan support, the club is generally able to spend like a top level team according to Team President Bill DeWitt III.

So here we are talking about the potential acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and his potential 10 year, $295 million commitment coming to town and someone always chimes in asking, “Can the Cardinals afford it?” If you want the tl/dr (too long/didn’t read) summary, yes. In fact, a whole-hearted, yes.

Assuming that the Cardinals were to make no changes to their roster and fill all their needs from within, the Cardinals can expect to have an Opening Day 25 roster plus other money of just a tick over $125 million. And that’s without a single change from the roster today.

How does this compare to previous seasons? Last year at the beginning of Spring Training, using the same methodology, the Cardinals had a projected Opening Day payroll of $143 million. Which was the same as it was before the 2016 season as well. So the Cardinals could add $18 million in payroll for next season without spending more than they did the past two seasons.

With three major needs to fill the question then becomes just how far are the Cardinals willing to push their payroll?

One of the places I look is that 2015-16 MLB offseason. The Cardinals were prepared to sign both David Price and Jason Heyward. Those deals combined would have cost roughly $50 million in average annual value. Figure that they would not have signed Mike Leake in that scenario ($16 million AAV), and you have a club that seemed prepared to handle a payroll around $175 million.

Beyond that, the club recently signed a new television rights deal with FOX Sports Midwest that is expected to pay them $50 million this season and up to $86 million a season over the next 20 years. From 2017 to 2018, the payout is expected be a roughly $20 million increase.

Now, you can make the case that perhaps the club was comfortable going beyond their limits for a year or two until that new television deal kicked in and they’d recoup that investment on the back end. But I think it’s fair to say that a payroll of about $185 million is not out of the realm of possibility.

That would suggest that the Cardinals could add $60 million of commitments to the payroll. That leaves plenty of space for Giancarlo Stanton’s $29.5 million AAV contract, bullpen help, and a starting pitcher.

Edit: I was asked on Twitter by @C70 about how the luxury tax might play a factor in how much the club is willing to spend. For 2018, the luxury tax threshold will be $197 million.

Now, I assume there will be differing methodologies between how I compute payroll and how MLB does for luxury tax considerations, but it is far enough away from where I believe the Cardinals can maintain their payroll that I don’t think it will play a factor.

However, they certainly will have no interest in going above the luxury tax threshold at all. Or putting themselves in a situation where they may want to exceed it going forward.

The Cardinals do have Adam Wainwright‘s $19.5 million coming off the books at the end of the year and then Yadier Molina‘s $20 million off the books after 2020 as Stanton’s contract begins to increase. So there is some flexibility with big contracts coming off the books to absorb payroll growth due to Stanton’s deal and arbitration.

News: Cardinals lose 8 to minor league free agency

What happened. Eight minor league players for the St. Louis Cardinals became minor league free agents yesterday. They are right handed pitchers Mark Montgomery, Miguel Socolovich, and Josh Zeid, catchers Gabriel Lino and Albert Rosario and outfielders Anthony Garcia, Nick Martini and C.J. McElroy. Baseball America has the list of all 572 players who became minor league free agents on Monday evening.

The story. Teams can renew a minor league player’s contract six times before the player can become eligible for minor league free agency and become eligible to sign with any other team. Players in this minor league free agency class would have been drafted in 2011 or earlier.

The numbers. Mark Montgomery, 27, joined the Cardinals organization this year on a minor league deal. The right hander posted a 2.43 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 66.2 relief innings for Triple-A Memphis, which left many surprised that he didn’t get an opportunity with all the bullpen shuffles the team made near the end of the season.

Miguel Socolovich, 31, joined the Cardinals in 2015 on a minor league deal and has spent time with the big league club. This past season he had a 4.15 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 39 innings for Triple-A Memphis. He was designated for assignment in May after posting an 8.68 ERA and 1.66 WHIP over 18.2 innings with the big league club. Over three years with the Cardinals he had a 3.80 ERA over 66.1 innings.

Josh Zeid, 30, joined the Cardinals this year and posted a 5.19 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in 102.1 innings for Triple-A Memphis. He began the season in the rotation for Memphis, making 12 starts and 21 relief appearances.

Gabriel Lino, 24, also joined the Cardinals this season and began the season with Springfield, posting a .267/.339/.419 batting line over 58 games before moving to Memphis following the promotion of Carson Kelly in July. There Lino hit .236/.317/.347 over 22 games.

Alberto Rosario, 30, joined the Cardinals organization in 2015 as a minor league free agent and has served as catcher for most of that time with Triple-A Memphis. This season in Memphis he hit .247/.291/.279 over 50 games. He’s also served at times as the backup catcher for the big league club hitting .171/.209/.220 in 23 games over two years.

Anthony Garcia, 25, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 18th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. After a strong 2015 season where Garcia hit .285/.400/.476 with 11 home runs for Springfield, Garcia was added to the club’s 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He would struggle to find any traction in Triple-A, however, hitting .232/.299/.397 in 102 games with Memphis. He was outrighted off the 40 man roster in April 2017.

Nick Martini, 27, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 7th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. In a system packed with outfielder talent, Martini had somewhat of a breakout season this year, hitting .303/.394/.436 over 98 games for Triple-A Memphis.

C.J. McElroy, 24, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 3rd round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Twice named the Fastest Baserunner in the Cardinals’ system by Baseball America, he never quite reached the promise of a third round pick. It wasn’t until 2015, his fifth year in the organization that he hit his first home run. Over six seasons he hit .256/.325/.308 across four levels. He missed the 2017 season due to injury.

The impact. 1/10. These are guys that the organization doesn’t think can cut it at the big league level or they would have been protected. It’s also possible that they expect they can bring some of these guys back. I would expect Rosario to return to Memphis where he’ll get an opportunity to be the next catcher up for the organization, a role he’s had for the last few seasons.

I also hope that the club can bring back Mark Montgomery. With the numbers he had, it was a surprise to me that he didn’t get a shot this summer through all the bullpen turmoil that the club had.

News: Paul DeJong named finalist for NL Rookie of the Year Award

What happened. St. Louis Cardinals’ shortstop Paul DeJong has been named a finalist for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

The story. A fourth round pick out of the 2015 MLB Draft as a Senior from Illinois State University, Paul DeJong, 24, made his MLB debut on May 28th by taking the second pitch he saw from Rockies closer Greg Holland deep for a pinch hit home run. He would fill in for the injured Kolten Wong initially, but a month after his debut, DeJong successfully pushed last season’s rookie standout Aledmys Diaz out of the starting job at shortstop.

The numbers. After that pinch hit home run in his debut, DeJong would hit 24 more big league homers in 2017 to finish the season with 25 home runs. His final slash line would be a very respectable .285/.325/.552 with 25 home runs.

He led the team in home runs, becoming the first Cardinals’ rookie to do that since Albert Pujols in 2001. He also led the team in slugging percentage. His 26 doubles led National League rookies.

Slugging is something he did well. Between Triple-A Memphis and St. Louis, he hit a total of 38 home runs in 2017.

The impact. 1/10. It’s hard to give this much impact seeing as it’s a solo award and Cody Bellinger is the favorite to win it, but it is a nice feather in DeJong’s cap. He becomes the first Cardinals player to be in the top-3 since Kolten Wong was in 2014.

DeJong’s next step will be finding a way to avoid a sophomore slump like the guy he replaced at shortstop. In 2016 Aledmys Diaz broke onto the scene hitting .300/.369/.510 with 17 home runs for the big league club, but stumbled this season, hitting just .259/.290/.392 and received a mid-season demotion to Memphis.

On the plus side, DeJong plays better defense than Diaz did.

News: Cardinals make Lance Lynn a qualifying offer, make roster moves

What happened. The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have made a qualifying offer to free agent pitcher RHP Lance Lynn. In addition, the club has given RHP Trevor Rosenthal his unconditional release and outrighted IF Alex Mejia and C Alberto Rosario off the 40 man roster. Their 40 man roster now stands at 35 players.

The story. Today was the deadline for the club to make qualifying offers to their pending free agents and Lance Lynn was an obvious choice as he is looking for a long-term deal this winter.

On the roster moves end, Trevor Rosenthal was going to be spending most of the 2018 season rehabilitating from his August Tommy John surgery. This will free up his roster spot immediately instead of on December 1st non-tender deadline. In additional roster moves, Alex Mejia and Albert Rosario were outrighted to free up 40 man roster space.

The impact. 2/10. This isn’t a completely meaningless day due to the release of Trevor Rosenthal. Many, myself included, were hoping that the Cardinals and Rosenthal could come to terms on a two year deal that would pay him while he rehabs for a lower rate with incentives in 2019. However, I imagine any phone call to Rosenthal’s agent Scott Boras would have been met with a, “We’d love to discuss a two year deal with you… in free agency.”

There was absolutely zero incentive for Rosenthal to sign a deal before the non-tender deadline. Either the Cardinals tender him and he doesn’t need to sign anything more than the one year tender or they don’t and he gets 29 additional teams offering for his services. It was a no-brainer on Rosenthal’s side of the table. Yes, there is the risk that he has to rehab next year without a contract, but that probably doesn’t scare a guy who made $11 million the last two years as much as it does you and me.

For Lance Lynn, this is no surprise. With his pursuit of a long-term deal, a one year deal has little interest to him and he is expected to decline the qualifying offer. From what I’ve understood the Cardinals should receive a compensatory pick after the second round for Lynn next summer.

The decision to outright Alex Mejia is a little bit of a surprise to me, but perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Mejia’s value is as a utility infielder and they already have a number of players capable of playing that role and there are a number of players with a higher ceiling than Mejia to protect.

The outrighting of Alberto Rosario is more a procedural thing to remove him from the 40 man roster. He is eligible to elect for minor league free agency, as he has been the past few seasons, but has remained with the team.

Rumor Mill: Giancarlo Stanton

We weren’t even out of the exclusivity period after the end of the World Series when Major League Baseball hot stove started sizzling. Peter Gammons got us started this weekend with a tidbit that the St. Louis Cardinals had indicated to the Miami Marlins that they would be willing to part with one of their high end pitching prospects in a trade for Giancarlo Stanton.

While I still question how much faith I should place in a national baseball writer drumming up trade rumors (remember those years of Tulowitzki trade rumors?) or the Cardinals’ front office when it comes to sealing big deals, this would seem to be a positive indication that there might be a chance for a deal.

This is a tough situation because it’s so hard for us to value Giancarlo Stanton for a few reasons.

First, he’s owed $295 million over the next 10 years. That’s a lot of coin, even for a transformative player like Stanton. But if you were to get 4 WAR out of Stanton on average over those 10 years (in 8 seasons so far he’s averaged 4.4 WAR including injury shortened seasons), he’ll easily be worth that contract. If Stanton were a free agent this winter, he would get far more than $29.5 million in average annual value. That’s all I would really need to know when it comes to whether the contract is worthwhile.

Second, he has an opt out after the 2020 season. Logic would suggest that if he has three productive seasons that he will exercise that opt out to become a free agent at 30 years old. That would be opting out of what is essentially a 7 year, $218 million deal and there are many who think he won’t be opting out, but depending on what guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado bring home after next season, there could easily be a market for $30-40 million more dollars.

Third, how much money do the Marlins want to send to St. Louis. The math here is pretty clear. The more of Stanton’s salary they’re willing to cover, the better prospects they can expect to receive in return. But the Marlins are hemorrhaging cash and one of the main reasons they’re trading Stanton away is because he is the biggest move they can make towards profitability. We might be looking at one of the last true contract dumps.

The result, I think, is a player who will likely be traded for far less than anyone expects.

And this is where the Cardinals have an edge. The other major suitor for Stanton is expected to be the San Francisco Giants, who struggled this season and have very few pitching prospects in their system. They have just one MLB.com Top-100 prospect and just one pitcher in their organizational top-10.

Enter the Cardinals with five MLB.com Top-100 prospects, two of which are pitchers, and five pitchers in their organizational top-10.

I wrote last winter about how the Marlins and the Cardinals were natural trade partners. The Cardinals needed a hitter following the death of Oscar Taveras and the Marlins needed a pitcher following the death of Jose Fernandez.

Of course, as I wrote that, it was about Marcell Ozuna, who went and put together the best year of his career in 2017. But Stanton would fit the bill too.

I think there’s enough to indicate that the Cardinals have a real interest in Stanton. But when it comes to the Cardinals’ front office, I always question their willingness to spend money and trade prospects.

The bigger question may be if there was any truth to the rumor from the trade deadline that the Marlins told the Cardinals that they believed Stanton would not waive his no trade clause to join the Cardinals. Though it was later clarified this was more of a midwest thing than a St. Louis thing.

I do believe, for a number of reasons, that if a Stanton to St. Louis trade is going to happen, it’ll happen in the next two weeks. November 20th is the deadline for clubs to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, and a team acquiring prospects will want to protect them if they’re in that situation. Additionally, the club will also want to have completed some trades to thin out the 40 man roster by this point as well. But they won’t want to trade anyone in those deals that might interest Miami. So I do expect a Stanton trade to happen relatively quickly or not at all.

2017-18 MLB Offseason Calendar

Here’s a complete list of all the dates you need to know for the 2017-18 MLB offseason.

November 2, 2017 – Free Agency Begins. At the conclusion of the World Series, all players with expiring contracts and enough service time will become free agents. Teams will then have an exclusive five day negotiation period with their pending free agents. For the Cardinals, Lance Lynn, Seung-hwan Oh, Zach Duke, and Juan Nicasio are pending free agents.

November 6, 2017 – Exclusive negotiation period ends, Qualifying offers due. After the conclusion of the five day exclusive negotiation period, players are eligible to negotiate with all teams. If teams intend to make a qualifying offer, expected to be a 1 year, $17.4 million offer this year, they must make it by 5 p.m. Eastern.

November 7, 2017 – Gold Glove winners announced. For the Cardinals, Yadier Molina a finalist for the Gold Glove Award at catcher.

November 8, 2017 – Silver Slugger winners announced.

November 13, 2017 – Qualifying offer decisions due. Players who were offered a qualifying offer by their former team must accept the offer by today. Teams who sign players who rejected their qualifying offers will give up a compensatory draft pick to the player’s previous team.

November 13-16, 2017 – General Managers’ Meetings in Orlando, FL.

November 13, 2017 – Rookie of the Year winners announced.

November 14, 2017 – Manager of the Year winners announced.

November 15, 2017 – Cy Young Award winners announced.

November 16, 2017 – MVP Award winners announced.

November 20, 2017 – Rule 5 protection deadline. Any Rule 5 Draft eligible players that the team wishes to protect must be added to their 40 man roster by this deadline. In general, players who were signed out of high school or international free agency in 2013 or earlier and out of college in 2014 or earlier are Rule 5 Draft eligible.

December 1, 2017 – Non-tender deadline. Teams must tender contracts to their players under team control. Players who are ineligible for salary arbitration will have their salary determined by the team during spring training. Players who are eligible for salary arbitration have more power to negotiate their salary prior to arbitration hearings in February. Potential players who could be non-tender candidates for the Cardinals would include Trevor Rosenthal and Aledmys Diaz.

December 10-14, 2017 – Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL.

December 14, 2017 – The Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft is one of the last things that takes place during the MLB Winter Meetings. The idea is that players who may be blocked or who have hit a ceiling in one organization can be picked up by another and given an opportunity. More information on who may be eligible is above with the November 20, 2017, description. The Cardinals took Matthew Bowman from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft two years ago.

January 13, 2018 – Salary arbitration filing deadline. Players and teams will officially file their salary arbitration requests. The Cardinals last season followed through of a threat of “file-and-trial”  with Michael Wacha. The idea being that if a player had not come to terms with the team by the filing deadline, that they would go to the arbitration hearing. Carlos Martinez filed as well, however agreed to terms on a 5 year extension soon after.

January 29 – February 16, 2018 – Salary arbitration hearings.  If the team and the player remain unable to reach an agreement on salary for 2018, the two sides will each present their cases to an arbiter who will then decide which number the player will be paid. Last season the Cardinals took Michael Wacha to arbitration and won. Before that, they had not taken a player to arbitration since 1999.

February 13, 2018 – Pitchers & Catchers report.

February 18, 2018 – Position Players report.

February 23, 2018 – Spring Training games begin. The Cardinals open the 2018 Grapefruit League as the visiting team against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

March 26 & 27, 2018 – Exhibition in Montreal. After breaking camp on March 25, the Cardinals will head to Montreal, Canada, to play a pair of exhibition games against the Toronto Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium.

March 29, 2018 – Season opener. Cardinals open up the 2018 MLB season against the New York Mets at Citi Field.