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Arbitration offered to three Cardinals free agents

The Cardinals opted to take a chance that starting pitcher Joel Pineiro will find a long-term contract on the open market Tuesday and offered him salary arbitration.

Pineiro, who was one of the top pitchers in the National League in 2006 after five years of mediocrity that saw him first banished to the Red Sox bullpen and later to their Class AAA affiliate before finding a home in St. Louis, would bring the Cardinals high draft picks since arbitration was offered.

But if Pineiro can't find the deal he wants because of the recession, he can accept the offer and the Cardinals will be forced to shoehorn $10 million or more into their 2010 budget. Players must accept Arbitration by Dec. 7.

More predictably, the Birds also offered arbitration to Matt Holliday, the star of the 2009-2010 off-season as well to Mark DeRosa who is being courted by six to eight major league teams despite being on the mend from wrist surgery. They did not offer it to slugging third baseman Troy Glaus who missed nearly all of the 2009 season with a shoulder injury.