Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cards offer Mulder, Suppan arbitration

The PD reports:
No longer conceding a need for three or even two additional starting pitchers, the Cardinals on Friday offered salary arbitration to only two of their seven remaining free agents, lefthander Mark Mulder and their former righthanded Mr. October, Jeff Suppan.

The club chose not to offer arbitration to pitchers Jason Marquis and Jeff Weaver, second baseman Ronnie Belliard, outfielder Preston Wilson and infielder Jose Vizcaino, although the Cardinals retain negotiating rights to each.[...]

Jocketty is more optimistic that he might retain Mulder than Suppan. He intends to speak with agents for both next week.

Mulder, who apparently agreed not to accept the team's offer of arbitration, is unlikely to pitch before next July after undergoing surgery Sept. 12 to repair a torn left rotator cuff. The Cardinals have expressed interest in signing him to a one-year, incentive-laden deal with a club option for 2008. However, Mulder's market continues to expand with the New York Mets the latest to express interest.

"At this point we may have a better chance of signing Mulder than Suppan," Jocketty said.

The Cardinals are disinclined to offer long-term deals to pitchers. Uncertainty over when Mulder might return also represents a sticking point to a one-year deal without an option attached.

"We don't like to rehab guys, build them up, then lose them," Jocketty said. "But the fact we handled it this way, we at least get some value in return" if Mulder signs elsewhere.

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