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Cardinals officially decline Matt Holliday’s option

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As previously rumored, the Cardinals have officially declined outfielder Matt Holliday‘s option for 2017, according to a report by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The club announced their intention to decline the veteran’s $17 million salary back in September, and while GM John Mozeliak wouldn’t confirm a permanent split, Holliday’s return to the team under a new contract seems unlikely.

It was an off year for the 36-year-old left fielder, who saw a career-worst batting line of .246/.322/.461 in 426 plate appearances and was sidelined through the second half after taking a pitch off of his right thumb. Although he didn’t perform at the All-Star level the Cardinals saw in 2015, he hit a few milestones before landing on the disabled list, including his 1,000th franchise hit and 500th at Busch Stadium. His 20 home runs made 2016 the 12th major league season in which he produced double-digit homers.

Holliday will become a free agent for the first time since he signed his seven-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals in 2010. While he may not have the defensive profile the Cardinals are searching for, his bat could still land him a spot as a DH before 2017 rolls around.

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.