Jay, Cards exchange arbitration figures

Unless parties agree, hearing will be in February

Jay, Cards exchange arbitration figures

ST. LOUIS -- Thus far unable to come to an agreement on Jon Jay's 2015 salary, the Cardinals and Jay got a better understanding of one another's expectations by exchanging salary figures on Friday. Jay, arbitration eligible for the second time, filed for $5 million, while the Cardinals submitted a $4.1 million figure.

The two sides still have time to settle on a salary independent of an arbitration panel. Those hearings take place over the first three weeks of February, though both sides would prefer to avoid needing one. Oftentimes, the parties will meet at the filing midpoint, which in this case would be $4.55 million.

Whatever the final figure may be, it will be a salary bump for Jay, who earned $3.25 million last season. After agreeing to that one-year deal, he went on to win his job back as the team's starting center fielder while batting .303/.372/.378 with a 111 OPS+ in 140 games. Jay had an especially strong second half (posting a .323/.406/.392 slash line) and was among the team's toughest outs against left-handed pitching.

Jay also showed marked improvement defensively, finishing the season credited with six Defensive Runs Saved after having a -10 total in 2013. His WAR, using Baseball Reference's computations, improved from 1.4 to 2.8 when factoring in Jay's offensive and defensive value.

The organization had previously reached agreements with its other arbitration-eligible players and will later renew the contracts of their players who have 0-3 years of Major League service time.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.