Cardinals could rework John Lackey’s MLB-minimum contract for the 2015 season

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At the end of October, the Cardinals exercised a major league-minimum option for 2015 on veteran right-hander John Lackey. That option was added to the end of Lackey’s five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Red Sox after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011, and he told the Cardinals in July when they acquired him that he would honor it.

But the St. Louis front office wants to ensure that the 36-year-old remains happy and motivated next year on what will be a base salary of $507,500 …

That “reworking” will probably involve the addition of some performance-based bonuses. The minimum-salary option was one of the primary reasons the Cards traded Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to get Lackey, so they’re not suddenly going to grant him a ton of guaranteed cash. Lackey has already made $108 million in his career.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).