Thursday, November 02, 2006

2007 Free Agency preview (Part 1 of 5)

I hope to have all 5 posts done by 11 Nov when the declaration period ends. This post will focus on the StL playoff roster (including Jason Marquis) and their contract status. The Cardinals actually have more than 26 personnel under contract (by my count, 41), but we will focus only on those on the playoff roster (again, plus Jason Marquis).

In the next few days, I'll break down what I think the club should do with each pending free agent by position (infielders, outfielders, and pitching) and finish with potential new signings to fill holes in the roster.

Cardinals under contract for 2007:

Albert Pujols ($15M), Scott Rolen ($12M), Jason Isringhausen ($8.75M), Chris Carpenter ($7M), Juan Encarnacion ($5M), David Eckstein ($4.5M), Ricardo Rincon ($1.45M), Braden Looper ($4.5M).

Pending options: Jim Edmonds (2007 option for $10M, $3M buyout), Preston Wilson (option for 3 years at $8M per through 2009, $500K buyout).

Pending Free Agents (bold indicates filed as of this post):

Infielders: Ronnie Belliard, Aaron Miles, Gary Bennett, Yadier Molina (unconfirmed reports show him under contract for 2007 at $450K), Jose Vizcaino.

Outfielders: Jim Edmonds (filed conditionally today), Scott Spiezio, Chris Duncan (unconfirmed reports show him under contract for 2007 at $400K), John Rodriguez, So Taguchi, Preston Wilson.

Pitchers: Jason Marquis, Mark Mulder, Jeff Suppan, Randy Flores, Josh Hancock, Adam Wainwright (unconfirmed reports show him under contract for 2007 at $350K), Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney, Anthony Reyes (unconfirmed reports show him under contract for 2007 at $350K), Jeff Weaver, Brad Thompson, Jorge Sosa.

Note that the club has already obligated $58.2M in contract money for next year in 8 players. Add the unconfirmed contract values for the 4 players in italics and that number raises by $1.55M to $59.75M. If they pick up Edmonds' and Wilson's option that number jumps up to $77.75M. That's a lot, considering going into 2006 the total amount obligated in salary was just over $86M, and why there's been soooo much talk about whether or not to exercise the option with Edmonds. My understanding is that either the club exercised its buyout of Wilson's contract, or that option became void when he was designated for assignment by Houston (not sure which - clarification would be appreciated), so I believe that $8M is off the table.

I think Cardinal management needs to realize their final salary number will be between $90 and $100M next season in order to put a competitive product on the field. That's the range I'll analyze their options in as I fill out the roster.

Holes the Cardinals will need to fill for next season: 3-4 starting pitchers, most of the bullpen, 2B, RF, LF, possibly CF.

Next post we will look at infield options.

No comments: