PUSHING A PENCIL FOR ST. LOUIS CARDINALS FUTURE. FA-LF Marcell Ozuna - In or Out.
St. Louis Cardinals Chairman/CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. announced Tuesday afternoon in a press conference that Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, General Manager Mike Girsch and Manager Mike Shildt will all receive new terms and extensions on their contracts.
Also, was mentioned, the Cardinals 2019 payroll would hold the same for 2020.
"IF" in fact St. Louis Cardinals hold with their 2019 payroll through 2020. How would left-fielder Marcell Ozuna fit into the scenario with an extension contract?
LF Marcell Ozuna has made it known he wants to stay with the Cardinals. A qualifying offer ($17,8 MM/1 yr) was extended to Ozuna for 2020 this past Monday (MLB designated day for all 30 teams). He was the only Cardinals free agent, out of eight, to receive the offer.
My thought ~ with monies (only $30.655 MM+/approx.) coming off of the 40 man roster payroll, which sits at 37 due to three on the 60-Day IL - (and includes Ozuna's $12.5 MM in 2019) coming off the books for 2020, more than enough to cover the QO.
Cardinals' payroll, approximately $162 MM, to be reduced by the above figure. There will be new contracts re-negotiated for current players, controlled salaries. Cardinals goal is to keep their cap the same. A ceiling would be $206 MM ($208 MM in 2020) to avoid the 'luxury tax".
Reportedly, Cardinals are talking with FA Adam Wainwright for 2020. He was paid (with incentives) a total $10 MM in 2019. Another season for him probably the same scenario ~ a player/team friendly contract - incentive loaded - for one more year. Interest shown in re-signing catcher FA Matt Wieters ($1.5 MM/2019).
Should Ozuna decline the QO, which I personally expect. Can a multi-million dollar/multi-year contract be agreed upon, even if the Cardinals revamped to push the payroll bubble - their comfort zone? Has Ozuna proven he is worth locking in?
He was not even close to his second All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, MVP contender 2017 season which led to the trade with the Miami Marlins in that off-season (Slashline: .312/.376/.548/.924). In his two seasons, 2018-2019, dealing with injuries held him from being a top performer. Even with that said, he did add some punch to our Cardinals offense.
In 2018 ~ .280 BA/23 HR/88 RBI/OPS .758 in only 148 games played - holding a 38-110/BB-SO ratio. Defense: OF/LF - 147 game starts/131 complete games - 264 putouts/274 chances, six assists, four errors for a .985 Fldg %.
In 2019 ~ .241 BA/29 HR/89 RBI/OPS .800 in only 130 games played - holding a 62-114/BB-SO ratio. Defense: OF/LF - 129 GS/113 CG/181 PO/189 C with four assists and four errors for a .979 Fldg %.
Cardinals have yet to see a 'full season' for Ozuna.
In 2020 - Wainwright could total another $10 MM. Wieters, if re-signed, probably not less than $10-15 MM/2-year contract?
DO THE CARDINALS HOLD ENOUGH FAITH TO 'LOCK OZUNA IN'.
Unless I'm missing something, conceivably a deal could be made should the Cardinals feel confident in his future performance to do so.
However, I don't feel Ozuna's performance the past two seasons ~ granted injury thrown in, warrants $25 MM per year for six-seven (?) years. Low ball, I would offer $15-18 MM per year.
Even with that said, a possible 'graduated' amount each season would be more viable. Me personally, I would not allow a "no-trade' clause. But, that is just my opinion.
In 2021, an estimated $65.6 MM (+/-) coming off the books certainly would absorb his salary and give 'wiggle' room in the future for 'baseball business'.
"IF" Ozuna is signed to an extension, I would say approaching any other free agent will not happen this off-season. To boost Cardinals rotation, signing a strong closer and adding a bat will come via trade.
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