ST. LOUIS -- The offseason is officially under way. Seven members of the 2009 Cardinals filed for free agency on Thursday, the first day that potential free agents were able to file following the conclusion of the World Series.
Rick Ankiel, Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, Khalil Greene, Matt Holliday, Jason LaRue and John Smoltz all formally filed on Thursday. Joel Pineiro and Todd Wellemeyer have yet to file. A total of nine Cardinals are eligible, and of course all are expected to file.
Players have 15 days, beginning Thursday, to file for free agency. That's also the same window during which teams have exclusive rights to negotiate with their own free agents. A club may express interest with another club's free agent during that window, but is not permitted to discuss actual contract terms.
Holliday, DeRosa and Smoltz all are likely to hear from the Cardinals regarding a return engagement. St. Louis traded for Holliday and DeRosa and found both to be good fits, though DeRosa's production was hampered by a wrist injury for which he recently had surgery. Smoltz and the club have already publicly expressed mutual interest in a reunion for 2010.
Holliday is rated a Type A free agent, the highest category, in the ratings released Thursday by the Elias Sports Bureau. DeRosa, Glaus and Pineiro are Type B free agents, while the remaining five are non-compensation free agents.
If the Cardinals offer arbitration to any of their Type A or Type B free agents and they sign elsewhere, or if they sign elsewhere before Dec. 1 regardless of an arbitration offer, the Cardinals would receive Draft-pick compensation.
For a Type A free agent, the compensation is the signing team's first-round pick in the 2010 Draft, as well as a "sandwich" pick between the first and second rounds. That is unless the signing team holds one of the top 15 picks, in which case the signing team would give up its second-round selection, not its first-rounder.
In the case of Type B free agents, the Cardinals would receive only the "sandwich" pick as compensation.
Only the Dodgers (13) and Rockies (10) have more potential free agents than the Cardinals.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.