St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese was able to successfully negotiate a contract in salary arbitration with the team. However, should it have ever got to that point?
Freese is the 2011 World Series Most Valuable Player and a crucial part of the Cardinals lineup. If the team wants to have any success during the 2013 MLB regular season, a large part of it will fall on the shoulders of the 29-year-old.
The right-handed batter recently signed a one-year, $3.15 million deal with St. Louis, which is much larger than the $518,000 he made in 2012. He entered arbitration asking for $3.75 million and the team countered with $2.4 million. Eventually the two sides agreed on the $3.15 million but many fans in St. Louis have to wonder why the Cardinals would even risk such a thing.
Freese batted .293 with 20 home runs, 79 runs batted in, 25 doubles and 70 runs scored in 501 plate appearances last season. The wise move would be to give Freese what he asked for to keep him happy so that the next few years of arbitration eligibility go smoothly before he becomes a free agent in 2016 and skips town. Even though he will be 33 years old by the time he can test out free agency, there is really no reason to believe he will slow down at the plate.
The Texas native has only been in the majors for four years but he has already proven that raw talent plus great coaching can do wonders for a player and the team he plays for. The Cardinals will need Freese in 2013 and beyond if they ever want to taste the sweet victory of a World Series title again, but if they offend him with another offer that insults his talent then the team might not be fortunate to retain him in the near future.