(Jupiter, FL) The arbitration results of six first-time eligible pitchers were released from embargo this afternoon, which included the decision in favor of the St. Louis Cardinals over Michael Wacha.
“I feel like this is just part of the industry we work in,” said Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak. “I don’t want it to be awkward with Michael and I or the team and hopefully, it won’t be.”
The right-hander had been seeking $3.2 million, but will instead receive the team’s proposal of $2.775 million, per Jon Heyman.
But unlike in some many cases years ago, the arbitration process is said to have become less contentious between the two sides but rather more a presentation of comparables to make their respective cases.
“In all candor, I wasn’t sitting in there but I certainly read the deck before they presented and I wanted the tone, on behalf of the Cardinals, to be a more pleasant experience,” said Mozeliak. “Clearly, you have to understand that you’re trying to slot a player based on performance into a salary neighborhood. To do so, you hope it’s not a personal attack. What you hope for is just a logical walk and people understand why.”
The Cardinals deck was put together by Mozeliak, Assistant General Manager Michael Girsch, Director of Baseball Adminstration John Vuch, and Tyler Hadzinski, a team analyst in Baseball Operations. The arbitration presentation was then made by outside counsel hired by the team.
“Clearly, you want to enter this with having success but also understand that it was good experience for our front office to have to build a deck and have to prepare for it,” said Mozeliak. “We’ve done that in the past, as you can imagine, but never actually getting in that hearing room and doing it. I’m not looking at this as I’m glad we had that experience, I’m just looking at it as it’s part of how baseball decides salaries and we participated.”
A key part of the Cardinals 2013 post-season run and 17-game winner in 2015, Wacha finished last season with a record of 7-7 (24 starts) and was limited to 138 IP due to a recurrence of shoulder/scapular issues which affected him in 2014. But there is optimism that has been addressed by a new off-season training regiment.
Wacha had his shoulder tested while in St. Louis for the Winter Warm-Up and per Mozeliak “they definitely thought there was positive results” from his off-season strengthening routine.
At this time, there are no restrictions for Wacha in Spring Training and with status of Alex Reyes unknown, his value to the rotation could become even more valuable.
LYNN RETURNING THURSDAY
–Lance Lynn has been excused from team activities due to a death in his family. He is expected to return to Spring Training camp on Thursday. Coming off of Tommy John surgery in November of 2015, Lynn also will not have any restrictions on his workload.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI, Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports