The Cardinals could go to an arbitration hearing for the first time since 1999

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Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is planning on taking two players to arbitration hearings this winter, per a report by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The club was unable to settle with right-handers Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, and took a hard-line approach in hopes of getting arbitration-eligible players to settle by Friday’s deadline.

Mozeliak explained the team mindset as they prepare for the upcoming hearing, adding that he doesn’t intend to settle with either player in the interim:

Historically, this is not something we have had to focus on. […] Energy and where we’ll be headed over the next few weeks will be mostly focused on that. … We do have time. But our strategy was if we file and exchange then we would take it to hearing.

Wacha, 25, had an off year with the Cardinals, going 7-7 with a career-worst 5.09 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 rate through 138 innings. He requested $3.2 million for the 2017 season, which was countered with $2.8 million.

Martinez, who recently reiterated his interest in extending his career in St. Louis, filed at $4.25 million. The club offered $3.9 million. The 25-year-old went 16-9 in 2016 with a 3.04 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 rate in 195 1/3 innings.

As Goold pointed out in his initial report, the Cardinals have not been to an arbitration hearing since 1999, when left-hander Darren Oliver and agent Scott Boras lost to the Cardinals over a sum of $3.55 million.