On Tuesday, all four players were to go through the formality of filing for arbitration by submitting the salary each is seeking for 2016. Similarly, the Cardinals submitted the 2016 salary figure that they believe is fair for each player. If no agreement can be reached independently between the two sides before Friday, those differing figures will become public.
Teams and players can continue to negotiate until scheduled arbitration hearings, which will take place over the first three weeks of February. Most times, an arbitration hearing is not necessary. If it is, an arbitration panel would choose one of the two submitted figures. That decision would then be binding.
General manager John Mozeliak said on Monday that he was uncertain whether the club would come to an agreement with any of its four unsigned players before Friday's figure exchange.
The Cardinals may also try to negotiate a multi-year deal with one of those arbitration-eligible players. That was the route the organization took last January, for instance, when signing Lance Lynn to a three-year contract in his first foray in the arbitration process.
Mozeliak, per team policy, does not comment on potential extensions and negotiations.
"But I think one of the things we're looking at is always more than just what's ahead in 2016," Mozeliak did acknowledge. "My staff upstairs will certainly consider most anything as far as what we think is best for our future. We're always open for business in that regard."
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.