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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cardinals decline option for keystone infielder Wong, allowing him to join Molina, Wainwright as free agents

In what can be read as the first hint of reduced spending and the unknowns of the 2021 baseball season, the Cardinals have elected to decline the option for second baseman Kolten Wong, a Gold Glove Award-winner and a keystone presence of the team for the previous seven seasons.

The Cardinals confirmed the decision Wednesday, the deadline for exercising a $12.5-million option.

There is a $1 million buyout.

Wong immediately becomes a free agent.

“We have both agreed to keep the door open,” John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said of a reunion with Wong as the market moves.

Mozeliak said Tommy Edman is, as of now, the starting second baseman.

In previous years, picking up Wong’s option would have been a layup.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 06:41 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: kolten wong

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   1. puck Posted: October 28, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5986339)
The Yankees will sign him and he'll pull a Lemahieu.
   2. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 28, 2020 at 10:05 PM (#5986341)
Nah, the Yankees rarely make a Wong move.
   3. Darren Posted: October 28, 2020 at 10:06 PM (#5986342)
This is going to be a weird offseason.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: October 28, 2020 at 10:24 PM (#5986347)
lots of chatter about Molina getting a 2-year deal with the Yankees.

it makes some sense.
   5. salvomania Posted: October 28, 2020 at 10:50 PM (#5986353)
Wong is a guy who, if he stays with the Cardinals, will play great defense and put up about a .700 OPS.

If he signs elsewhere he'll play great defense and finally put it together offensively, with an OPS of .860 or so.
   6. salvomania Posted: October 28, 2020 at 10:53 PM (#5986355)
The $12.5M seems pretty cheap for what should be a floor of about 3 WAR. This is a move that will probably backfire on the Cardinals.
   7. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 29, 2020 at 12:27 AM (#5986371)
If he signs elsewhere he'll play great defense and finally put it together offensively, with an OPS of .860 or so.
If he signs with the Angels, he'll probably get hit by a seagull and never play again.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 29, 2020 at 12:57 AM (#5986373)
If he signs with the Angels, he'll probably get hit by a seagull and never play again.

If he signs with the Red Sox, he and the team will totally stink for the first few months of the season.

Rumours will emerge that he wants out and is a troublemaker and of course he will then be traded at the deadline for a reliever will pitch in 6 games, post an ERA of 9 and get injured.

Meanwhile Wong will hit 320/380/520 for the month or so he is with his new team.
   9. The Duke Posted: October 29, 2020 at 01:00 AM (#5986374)
The story isn’t that Wong was cut loose. The story was that the cardinals have concluded that zero fan revenue is incompatible with 2019 salary thought processes. I suspect the cardinals are not the only team that have realized this. Options will not be picked up, players will be non-tendered, free agents will have no meaningful suitors and the 147 free agents today will become 200 players without contracts tomorrow. I expect a material re-setting of $/WAR and a collapse of long term deals this winter.

I bet Wong ends up with Cards for something like 1/5 or 2/8 not the 1/12 they rejected
   10. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2020 at 09:15 AM (#5986392)
Free agent salaries are going to drop at least 25% from what we would usually expect this offseason. We are going to see a lot of arbitration non-tenders.
   11. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 29, 2020 at 09:52 AM (#5986400)
There's going to be labor strife again as 2021 is probably not going to be a back-to-normal season. With all the unknowns, including local politics, some teams will be able to sell tickets and some won't be. That is going to cause all sort of issues and complications. Some teams might explore the option of playing in another state, for example. The union may not go for it, or the union may encourage it.
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 29, 2020 at 10:13 AM (#5986408)
The Duke is right that this is a sign of how things are going to go this offseason. Spending will drop precipitously.

   13. Astroenteritis Posted: October 29, 2020 at 12:09 PM (#5986436)
If he signs with the Angels, he'll probably get hit by a seagull and never play again.

If he signs with the Astros, he's a dirty, rotten, low down, no good cheater.
   14. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: October 29, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5986452)
We are going to see a lot of arbitration non-tenders.

The Cubs are a team to watch here. They've been pretty vocal about cutting expenses and how much no fans hurts them (debatable, but the message has been consistent even pre-COVID). Additionally, the launch of their own RSN has not gone well (already dropped by the one and only streaming service they were on). But here's their choices (not just arb, but options):

Lester: $25mil opt/$10mil buyout- he'll get the buyout; could resign, but gonna be for way less than $15mil/yr
Rizzo: $16.5mil option - should be an easy pick up, but maybe not? Rizzo has made a lot of noise about wanting an extension too.
Bryant: approx $19mil arb. Would be crazy to non-tender him, but also might not shock me.
Baez: approx $11.25mil arb. Same as Bryant, would be crazy; but could they be making a Bryant or Baez choice?
Schwarber approx $8mil arb. Probably the most obvious non-tender candidate (and he definitely will finally turn a corner somewhere else as a fulltime DH).
They have some other low dollar guys that I would expect to be non-tendered, like Almora and some other RP.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2020 at 04:06 PM (#5986551)
Irony will abound if the Cubs non-tender Bryant for the "extra year." I'm almost hoping for it.

I wouldn't trust the arb salary projections unless they've made a temporary tweak to account for last season's proration. I suspect the projections are just viewing 2020 like playing 50 games out of 162 which, even if you did well, is not going to get you a normal raise in arb. But arbitrators will treat that as another full year of starting which makes a standard raise the starting point from which you get tweaked up or down based on performance. This is mainly in regard to Baez who the model b-r uses (which I think come from MLBTR) projects Baez to get a raise from $10 to just $12. Javy's a full-time starting SS who went from $5 to $10 last year. He had a crappy "year" with the bat but remains a GG candidate and average by WAR. He wouldn't get the full $5 raise but he'll get $13-14 if they go to arb. Bryant's a somewhat different story because he stank and started just 34 games out of 60, he's not in line for much of a raise.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2020 at 04:22 PM (#5986554)
More on the Cubs -- agree Schwarber is a strong candidate for non-tender (I'd do it). I assume Happ is safe, mainly interested to see if the Cubs try to tie him up long-term. Contreras I think is the most intersting arb candidate. Even as a 3 WAR C (which doesn't include framing), he got only $4.5 this year in arb 1. He was good this year and can add GG finalist to his arb resume, I'm guessing he's in line for about $9.

There are some relievers but none of them make anything nor are they particularly good. Tepera is probably worth keeping but at 33 and just $4 M career earnings, he's not going to drive a hard bargain.

I assume they'll exercise Rizzo's option -- they might try to trade him at that point (or does he have a NTC in his extension?)

If the Cubs are going to go cheap they might as well start the rebuild and they have nice pieces to do so. A couple of nice short-term trade pieces in Rizzo and Baez; some medium-term pieces in Darvish, Hendricks, Contreras and Happ. Even with a "market correction", the 3/$59 owed Darvish is cheap and the 3/$44 owed Hendricks is still a bargain.

They wouldn't move all of those guys of course (they might be lucky to play 250 ball next year if they did) but you could get some nice pieces back.
   17. phredbird Posted: October 29, 2020 at 06:55 PM (#5986578)

sad to see him go if doesn't re-sign.

i liked the flyin hawaiian. but baseball is a hard business.

   18. JJ1986 Posted: October 29, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5986614)
Michael Conforto did end up better than Bryant after all.

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