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Cardinals arbitration decisions

Today is the day on which teams must announce if they will offer arbitration to their free agents and much speculation abounds on the Cardinals players.

Players that are offered arbitration are guaranteed at least a one year contract -- if they agree to accept arbitration. And teams must offer arbitration to get high draft picks back from teams that ink their former players to deals. So, bottom line is that a club has to offer it if it wants the picks. But if the player doesn't fit into their plans any longer, they risk having to take them back at a salary set by an arbitrator.

Matt Holliday is a no brainer. The Cardinals would like to have their slugging left fielder back at a reasonable price and they would be spared the need to offer him a six or seven-year contract if he accepted arbitration.

Mark DeRosa would probably be a pretty safe arbitration gamble. The Cardinals could use some stability at third base as they try to decide if David Freese is a viable longterm solution. De Rosa could also play left if the Cardinals lose Holliday or second base against lefty pitchers to give Skip Schumaker a break.

Joe Pineiro is the real head scratcher. The Cardinals only have three established starting pitchers without him. But the birds were paying Pineiro to be a middle to back of the rotation starter when he caught lightning in a bottle in 2009 and was one of the best pitchers in the National League. If he accepted arbitration, with last season's numbers, the Birds might well have to keep Pineiro for $10 million plus. Pineiro would like a longterm deal. But in a down market and with his track record, I could see him taking arbitration and hoping for better market next off-season. If Pineiro accepts, the Cardinals will likely claim they can no longer afford to pursue Holliday.

Troy Glaus: No way. Given his long track record, Glaus could make $10 million or more in arbitration, and that would also sink the Cardinals' budget. From what I have heard, the Birds think Glaus' shoulder is shot and that he may be the Mark Mulder of hitters.... AKA never the same again.