Photo is credited to Getty Images.
On the heels of the Cubs snapping a 108-year World Series title drought, the Cardinals made a few transactions on the inaugural day of baseball’s offseason market on Thursday.
With one year remaining on his formal contract, the Cardinals announced their agreement with manager Mike Matheny on a three-year extension that will keep him at St. Louis’s helm through the 2020 season. Matheny has managed the Cardinals since Hall of Fame skipper Tony La Russa stepped down following the 2011 season.
Matheny has guided the Cardinals to three National League Central division titles in his time as the Cardinals’ manager, and his teams own an overall record of 461-349 since the start of 2012. Matheny’s ballclubs made the postseason in the first four years of his managerial career, with the first season of no playoff action during Matheny’s tenure in St. Louis occurring just this year.
In more of an on-field move, the Cardinals announced that they are picking up their option on left-handed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia. Garcia, who turned 30 in July, had his first season free of medical setbacks in quite some time, as Garcia started 30 games and logged 171 2/3 frames this year to reach personal feats that the lefty hadn’t since 2011. Across his 30 starts, Garcia walked 57 batters, posted a WHIP of 1.37, and was tagged for a 4.67 ERA.
The addition of Garcia back into the Cardinals’ raw 2017 outlook provides the team with a bit of flexibility as the offseason progresses. The move gives the club additional depth from a starting-pitching perspective, and, in theory, the organization has enough pitching in stock to absorb a subtraction if it means addressing a separate task, such as acquiring a center fielder.
Formerly perceived and now factual news pieces of the day involve outfielder Matt Holliday and reliever Jordan Walden, who will both be bought out of their respective scenarios and hit the free agent market this winter. Holliday saw his career over a span of eight years in St. Louis break, literally, when he suffered a broken thumb in August that held him out of play until late September, prompting the Cardinals to refrain from paying the aging (and now ailing) corner outfielder to be a member of the 2017 squad.
Walden, the other Cardinals acquisition in the Shelby Miller-Jason Heyward deal back in 2014, appeared in twelve games for the Cardinals early in the 2015 season before various arm and back issues ended that campaign and ultimately robbed him of a chance at the major-league level in 2016.
Holliday and Walden are owed $1 million and $250,000 by the team, respectively, to officially hit the market.