Outfielder Randal Grichuk became the first of the Cardinals’ four arbitration-eligible players to reach an agreement with the club, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on Thursday that the two sides settled on a one-year, $2.6 million contract for 2018. The club has not confirmed the report.
The deal comes one day before clubs and any remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players will exchange desired salary figures. In 2017, the Cardinals transitioned to a trial-and-file philosophy, meaning that once they swap salary figures with a player, they proceed with the intention of taking that case all the way to a February arbitration hearing.
Grichuk, who made $557,200 in 2017, entered the offseason eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. While he’s no longer earmarked for a starting job, he does sit as the fourth outfielder on the Cardinals’ depth chart and should see semi-regular playing time given his ability to play all three outfield spots.
In 442 plate appearances last season, Grichuk slashed .238/.285/.473 for a .758 OPS. That latter figure has decreased each of the past three seasons while Grichuk has struggled to turn potential into consistent production.
Individual tickets for 2018 Cardinals Spring Training games at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, will go on sale this Saturday, January 13, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CT (excluding tickets for the March 2 game vs. Boston, which will go on sale Saturday, January 27).
Roger Dean Stadium offers Reserved Box, Bleacher and Bullpen Club seating. The Bullpen Club is Roger Dean’s newest addition featuring all-inclusive tickets with drink rail and four-top table seating.
The team’s 30-game Grapefruit League slate is set to begin on Friday, February 23 and will conclude on Sunday, March 25. The Cardinals Spring Training schedule features 14 home dates and 16 road games, including four games as the “visiting” team against the Marlins, giving them 18 total games at Roger Dean Stadium.
To purchase Spring Training single game tickets, or for more information about the schedule or Roger Dean Stadium, visit cardinals.com/springtraining or call 561-775-1818.
Fans interested in Cardinals Spring Training vacation packages, which include great game tickets, choice of hotel accommodations, rental car with unlimited mileage, an exclusive reception and dinner featuring a season preview with select Cardinals players and personnel, early game entry to watch batting practice and custom Cardinals Spring Training jersey, can visit cardinals.com/vacations or call 1-800-892-7687. #CardsSpringTraining
Source St. Louis Cardinals
Well before Marcell Ozuna reports for his first Spring Training as a Cardinal, he will have to start the potentially uncomfortable process of salary arbitration with them. Ozuna has quite a resume to boast, which is part of what made him so attractive to the Cardinals in the first place. He hit .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs last year, giving him few comparables among second-time arbitration-eligible players.
My model projects a substantial raise for him of $7.4MM — all the way to a $10.9MM salary. This may be high, given the lack of exact historical comparables and the potential for an arbitration process to discount some of the home runs hit in a very high league home run environment (2017 set a record). That said, it still suggests that Ozuna is going to get a large raise anyway.
Jose Abreu had a comparable season, and his projection is accordingly similar. He hit .304 with 33 homers and 102 RBIs, making the primary difference in their cases the lower RBI total for Abreu. The White Sox slugger is projected for a $7.1MM raise instead of Ozuna’s $7.4MM, but he starts from a higher base salary and is therefore projected to land at $17.9MM.
No other players in the past five years have entered arbitration with the elusive .300/30/100 slash line. However, several players did so in the prior five years, including Jacoby Ellsbury in 2012 (.321/32/105), Josh Hamilton in 2011 (.359/32/100), Matt Holliday in 2008 (.340/36/137) and Miguel Cabrera in 2008 (.320/34/119). Those players got raises between $5.65MM (Ellsbury) and $3.9MM (Cabrera), although both Hamilton and Holliday got raises above $5MM, thus making Cabrera the exception.
It seems quite likely that Ellsbury, with 39 stolen bases to Ozuna’s one stolen base, would have a better case. However, the fact that Ellsbury’s case is six years old could put them closer together and could even put Ozuna and Abreu ahead. One thing that is important to note is that only Ellsbury got a one-year deal. The other raises mentioned above are part of multi-year deals, which are usually not very applicable in arbitration cases (although they could be in this scenario with few comparables).
If we look for a player more recent, we might consider Manny Machado last year at .294/37/96. He got a $6.5MM raise and clearly looks like a relevant player. The home run environment difference in just one year is pretty limited as well.
The record raise for a second-time eligible hitter belongs to Chris Davis, who got a $7.05MM raise after his .286/53/138 campaign in 2014. That would probably compare favorably to Ozuna’s numbers because of the home run difference, but the four years’ lag could render that number stale and push Ozuna and Abreu above him after all, as the model predicts. However, I think it may serve as a ceiling, leaving Ozuna and Abreu south of theor projections and slightly south of Davis.
Charlie Blackmon hit .324/29/104 last season, but did so in Coors Field, so he might be seen as less impressive than Ozuna and Abreu. His $3.8MM raise is probably a floor, and perhaps not that close of one.
I think it may be more likely that Ozuna and Abreu both get raises somewhere around $6MM. The triad of players with .300/30/100 slash lines and raises over $5MM back in 2008-12 are probably floors, whereas Davis’ raise seems like a ceiling. If that proves true, Ozuna might end up around $10MM instead of closer to $11MM, and Abreu might end up closer to $17MM than $18MM.
There’s little precedent for Tommy Pham’s enormous breakout season at the age of 29, writes SB Nation’s Craig Edwards. Pham posted a roughly six-win season for the Cardinals (5.9 fWAR, 6.4 rWAR) last year on the strength of a .306/.411/.520 batting line through 530 plate appearances. However, he’d provided minimal value to the Cards over his first 136 games in the bigs after progressing slowly through the minor leagues. Edwards looks for historical context for Pham’s breakout, noting that there’ve been 48 outfielders with a WAR between five and seven in their age-29 season over the past 70 years. Of that group, only three — Jose Bautista, Ryan Ludwick and former Tigers outfielder Charlie Maxwell — broke out with as limited a track record as Pham. It’s an interesting look at a unique breakout season that also attempts to gauge how Pham will perform in 2018 and beyond.
The Cardinals announced that two of the team’s newest additions—outfielder Marcell Ozuna and right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas—will both appear at the 2018 Winter Warm-Up event to be held January 13-15 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.
Autograph tickets for the two players will go on sale Friday, January 5 at 12:00 p.m. CT at cardinals.com/WWU and the Busch Stadium Box Office. A Winter Warm-Up admission ticket is required to obtain player autographs at the event. Mikolas is scheduled to sign on Saturday, January 13, while Ozuna is scheduled to sign on Sunday, January 14.
“We are excited to confirm the attendance of Marcell Ozuna and Miles Mikolas at this year’s Winter Warm-Up,” said Michael Hall, Executive Director of Cardinals Care and Vice President of Community Relations. “This will be the first opportunity for Cardinals fans to meet and get autographs from both players and we look forward to introducing the guys to Cardinal Nation.”
Every dollar donated for autograph tickets—as well as all proceeds from the Winter Warm-Up weekend—will benefit Redbird Rookies and charitable grants to other non-profit organizations that help kids.
Fans who order player autograph tickets online can pick up their autograph tickets at the Busch Stadium Box Office during regular box office hours or at the Ticket Booth and autograph ticket kiosks at the Winter Warm-Up. Autograph tickets are the sole responsibility of the ticket purchaser and cannot be reissued, reprinted or refunded. Player availability is subject to change.
For complete up-to-date details about player autograph dates, signing times, donation amounts and frequently asked questions, or to purchase admission or autograph tickets, visit cardinals.com/WWU. #CardsWarmUp
Source: St. Louis Cardinals