ST. LOUIS – For the 14th straight year, the Cardinals have resolved their arbitration cases without needing to advance to a hearing.
The organization and David Freese were headed toward one this month before both sides agreed on a one-year deal for 2013. The agreement was announced Friday afternoon.
Freese, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time, had filed last month for a salary of $3.75 million. The Cardinals had countered with a $2.4 million offer. The final figure likely falls around the midpoint of the two.
Freese was one of five arbitration-eligible players the Cardinals had to negotiate with this offseason, and was the last to reach an agreement. Freese earned $508,000 last season.
The third baseman, who will turn 30 in April, enters 2013 on the heels of his most successful season in St. Louis. After years of injury issues, Freese stayed clear of the disabled list and played in a career-high 144 games, starting 132 at third base.
Freese became one of five Cardinals players to hit 20 homers and he ranked fourth on the team with 79 RBIs. He batted .293 with a .372 on-base percentage and .839 OPS.
Freese, who grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis, has been back home since December 2007, when the Cardinals acquired him from the Padres in exchange for Jim Edmonds. Freese made his Major League debut two years later and opened the 2010 season as the club's everyday third baseman.
Though various injuries kept him off the field for parts of the '10 and '11 seasons, Freese went on to shine on a national stage in October 2011. Playing on a club that snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, Freese earned Most Valuable Player honors in both the National League Championship Series and World Series. He set postseason records with 21 RBIs and 50 total bases.
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.