Cards keep Moss, non-tender Cishek, Stanley

Cards keep Moss, non-tender Cishek, Stanley

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals tendered contracts to four arbitration-eligible players -- Brandon Moss, Trevor Rosenthal, Matt Adams and Seth Maness -- before Wednesday's deadline, but opted not to do so with reliever Steve Cishek. In addition, the club non-tendered catcher Cody Stanley, who is serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in September.

As a result, Cishek and Stanley become free agents.

By tendering contracts to the other four, the Cardinals have essentially agreed to a one-year deal with each. They can choose to negotiate a longer deal, if desired, but will at minimum negotiate a contract for the 2016 season. The two sides will first try to work out an agreement independent of an arbitration hearing. Players still unsigned in February will have their 2016 salary set by an arbitration panel.

Hot Stove: Track free agents

Earlier on Wednesday, the Cardinals parted ways with their other two arbitration-eligible players. Tony Cruz, displaced as the team's backup catcher by Brayan Pena earlier in the week, was traded to the Royals for Minor League infielder Jose Martinez. Peter Bourjos was then claimed off waivers by the Phillies.

The Cardinals' decision to non-tender Cishek was financially motivated, as he would have been due a salary bump from the $6.65 million he earned in 2015. Cishek appeared in 27 games as a middle reliever for the Cardinals after being dealt from the Marlins just before the July non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Cishek, who lost his job as Miami's closer after a poor start to the season, performed well with St. Louis. He posted a 2.31 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 23 1/3 innings. The Cardinals haven't ruled out re-signing Cishek, but would only do so at a lesser financial commitment than Cishek would have required had the arbitration process played out.

Stanley, a fourth-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2010 Draft, made his Major League debut in 2015. He was a part of the organization's future catching plans until Sept. 12, when it was announced that he had violated MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a second time.

The infraction came with an 80-game suspension.

Rosenthal, Adams and Maness are all arbitration-eligible for the first time, with Maness qualifying for the process as a "Super Two" player. Moss, arbitration-eligible for the fourth time, will see a raise from the $6.5 million he earned in 2015.

Like Cishek, Moss was acquired by the Cardinals just prior to the Trade Deadline. The organization's willingness to deal pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky to acquire Moss was in large part due to the guarantee that Moss would remain under team control for another season.

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