The moves were merely a formality for the Cardinals, who all along intended to make offers to closer Jason Motte, reliever Mitchell Boggs, reliever Edward Mujica, third baseman David Freese and reliever Marc Rzepczynski. The only arbitration-eligible player the Cardinals planed to non-tender was reliever Kyle McClellan and that became a non-issue when St. Louis removed him from the 40-man roster earlier this month.
Now the task turns to negotiations, which Mozeliak will begin in earnest after the Winter Meetings next week. At minimum, the club will work to sign players to a one-year deal. The Cardinals could also try to sign any of the five to a multi-year deal in order to cover additional years of arbitration-eligibility.
Mujica is arbitration-eligible for the third and final time after earning $1.625 million in 2012. Motte made $2 million last season, his first year of arbitration-eligibility. Boggs ($506,000), Freese ($508,000) and Rzepczynski ($504,000) are all first-time eligible this offseason.
Players who have been tendered contracts but have not yet come to an agreement with a club by Jan. 18 will exchange desired salary figures with the team on that date. If negotiations continue to be unsuccessful, an arbitration hearing will be scheduled in February. If a hearing is needed, an independent party makes a final, binding decision on a one-year salary figure.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less