Five St. Louis Cardinals players from the past season officially become free agents on Thursday morning–Mark Ellis, Justin Masterson, Jason Motte, Pat Neshek, and A.J. Pierzynski. All will be eligible to negotiate contracts with any team beginning at 12:01am ET on Tuesday, November 4th.
Teams must decide by this Monday, November 3rd if they will extend one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offers to their free agents–which will guarantee draft pick compensation if the player signs with another team. If offered, a player as until November 10th to accept or decline the qualifying contract.
The Cardinals are not expected to offer such a qualifying contract to any of their free agents.
As he stated when traded to St. Louis, pitcher John Lackey will honor the team option for next season–which will pay him the league minimum of just over $500,000.
GOLDEN ERA HOF BALLOT
–Former St. Louis Cardinals great Ken Boyer is one of ten names The Golden Era Committee will consider for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Boyer was the 1964 National League Most Valuable Player and won five Rawlings Gold Gloves. He also drove in 1001 runs in his 11 seasons with St. Louis before being traded to the New York Mets in 1965.
The third baseman is joined by Dick Allen, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, and Maury Wills.
Dick Allen spent only one season in St. Louis, but he hit 34 home runs with 101 RBIs in 1970.
Jim Kaat (1980-83) threw almost 300 innings for the Cardinals over the final four of his 25 year career. He was also at least partially responsible for the trade which brought Cesar Cedeno to St. Louis, reportedly suggesting the idea to Whitey Herzog.
Executive Bob Howsam is a nominee for his role in putting together Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” but he took over as GM in St. Louis in 1964 after Bing Devine was fired. Ironically, it was Howsam who traded Boyer away from the Cardinals.
The Committee is one of three formed by the Hall of Fame in 2010 to focus on three categories of players–the Pre-Integration Era (orgins-1946), the Golden Era (1947-72), and the Expansion Era (1973-forward). Ron Santo was the only player to be elected into Cooperstown via the first Golden Era vote held in 2011.
Players must receive 75% of the vote from the 16-member committee which for this election is made up of Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Pat Gillick, Ferguson Jenkins, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton; baseball executives Jim Frey, David Glass, Roland Hemond and Bob Watson; and veteran media members Steve Hirdt, Dick Kaegel, Phil Pepe and Tracy Ringolsby.
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