Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook: Cards See Good News in Labor Agreement

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook: Cards See Good News in Labor Agreement

Article excerpt

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. * One of the series of meetings Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak had with his peers Wednesday was debriefing on the new collective bargaining agreement, which will be finalized and ratified in the coming weeks. The discussions could get complicated about compensation draft picks, qualifying offers and caps, but the upshot from new international rules is simple.

The Cardinals' gamble paid off.

The Cardinals, and a few other teams like San Diego, blew past their international spending limits this year with the knowledge that they could be penalized but that a change to the rules would lessen the pinch. Mozeliak's club entered this current spending period with a bonus limit of $2,027,300, and they spent more than that on one player. They have signed as many as four players for bonuses greater than $1 million.

"The large market teams were out (of this market) and we thought we were in a level playing field in those negotiations," Mozeliak said. "We also anticipated a change and subsequently there was. We still have resources."

The headliners the Cardinals signed during their spending spree were Cuba outfielder Jonatan Machado ($2.3 million), Venezuelan pitcher Johan Oviedo ($1.9 million), and Victor Garcia, a Venezuelan teenager and outfielder ($1.9 million). In late July, the Cardinals also signed Cuban infielder Randy Arozarena. At 21, Arozarena ranked No. 9 on Baseball America's list of Cuban prospects. He received a bonus of $1.25 million and is considered to have significant potential. He hit .291 with a slugging average of .419 in his final 74 games in Cuba's top league.

The Cardinals have already spent in excess of $8.5 million, and that does not include the penalty tax for going over their cap. In the coming years, the Cardinals will be limited to signings of $300,000 or less however, their cap will go up. The new agreement assigns most teams a straight $4.75 million limit. That nearly doubles the cap the Cardinals would have had. …

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