Although the announcement that the St. Louis Cardinals have signed centerfielder Jon Jay to a two-year contract certainly won't be well received by a certain segment of Redbirds fans, the contract is actually a good deal for everyone.
First, obviously, it's a good thing for Jon Jay. It gives him some financial security as he nears free agency for the first time. That's probably something that is greatly appreciated from a guy who saw his club try to give his job away without even giving him a chance to fight for it at this point last year.
Relax, Jay haters, the deal doesn't mean that the Cardinals couldn't trade him if they so desired. If Jay were to go through arbitration this off-season and next, he probably would have ended up getting about the same amount of money. So, unless he has an awful 2015, the deal probably wouldn't hinder the opportunities to trade him. There were several teams that were interested in him last year when it looked like he'd lose his job to Peter Bourjos. In fact, the cost certainty might make him more attractive to a potential trade partner if he has another solid year like he did in 2014. Especially in a worst case scenario in which the Birds have an awful season and decide to shed some parts at the trade deadline.
Lets' hope that's not necessary, however.
But, should the Birds keep Jay for the length of the pact, it's good for the club because it eliminated the uncertainty of the arbitration process while keeping the team out of contentious arbitration hearings.
It's a nice olive branch to extend to Jay, showing him appreciation, respect and commitment after a rough 2015 because of the off the field issues. He deserves it with the second-highest on-base percentage on the club in 2014, .372, which was only behind Matt Carpenter's .375.
The Cardinals may have their plate full in the 2015-16 off-season as the team potentially tries to re-sign pending free agents Jason Heyward and John Lackey or tries to retool the roster in their absence. Jay's contract not only frees up general manager John Mozeliak's attention to tend to those issues, it also gives him a better picture of how the 2016 budget will fit together.
The Redbirds lost nothing by inking Jay to a two-year deal. But they benefits are substantial.