Cards reach deals with 18 players

Cards reach deals with 18 players

JUPITER, Fla. -- As the Cardinals begin Grapefruit League play, they will do so with every member of the 40-man roster under contract. St. Louis announced agreement with 18 players on new one-year deals Tuesday.

Among the notables to agree on Tuesday were catcher Yadier Molina, outfielders Chris Duncan and John Rodriguez and right-handers Adam Wainwright, Anthony Reyes, Josh Hancock, Josh Kinney and Brad Thompson and lefty Tyler Johnson.

All 18 players have yet to reach the required service time to be eligible for arbitration. That puts them in a category where the club has the option to renew the player's contract at an assigned amount. However, all 18 signings represented agreed-on deals between player and club -- no one was renewed.

"They're all agreements," said general manager Walt Jocketty. "That's what's really good about it. Our goal is always to try to get [contracts] done before we start playing the games, and have the players concentrate on that."

St. Louis plays its first Grapefruit League game on Wednesday against the Florida Marlins. The team still had a few days to agree on contracts, but managed to avoid having negotiations seep over into the exhibition schedule. The window for renewing contracts begins Friday and lasts through March 11.

The complete list included pitchers Troy Cate, Andy Cavazos, Dennis Dove, Brian Falkenborg, Blake Hawksworth, Hancock, Johnson, Kinney, Chris Narveson, Reyes, Thompson and Wainwright, as well as Duncan, Molina, Rodriguez, outfielders Cody Haerther and Skip Schumaker and infielder Brendan Ryan.

"It's always a little tougher to reach a quick agreement after you've won a championship," Jocketty said. "But I think everything went well. Mo [assistant general manager John Mozeliak] did the majority of them, and I thought he got it done well."

Jocketty said that the club holds some interest in signing Molina to a long-term deal, but that no imminent action is expected on that front.

"We talked about it at one time, but I don't know," he said. "I think our focus at this time was just to get him signed for this year, and then we'll look at it in the future."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.