Jack Flaherty
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Cardinals renew Jack Flaherty, penalize him again for not agreeing to contract

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The Cardinals have renewed ace Jack Flaherty‘s contract at just over $600,000. Flaherty did not agree to his contract for the second year in a row, but as a player with under three years of major league service time he is unable to bargain with the team and must play for the salary the Cardinals designated for him. According to Derrick Goold, the Cardinals have a team policy of fining pre-arbitration players $10,000 who do not agree to their contracts, but offset the penalty with a bonus for finishing fourth in last year’s National League Cy Young Award voting.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week that the Cardinals use a formula to determine salaries for pre-arbitration players. The formula takes things such as service time, performance, awards, All-Star appearances and so on into account.

As stated above, this is the second year in a row in which Flaherty did not agree to his contract. The big right-hander has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball for two years now and is arguably the most important player on the Cardinals. It’s quite evident that he’s being massively underpaid relative to his value.

The Cardinals were not the ones who decided that players with less than three years’ service time cannot negotiate their salaries, but teams have gone out of their ways to throw their great pre-arb players some money before. The Astros, for instance, gave Carlos Correa $1 million and $5 million in salary in his last two pre-arb years. However, it should be noted that Houston manipulated Correa’s service time in a way that they essentially squeezed an extra year out of Correa in which he was unable to go to arbitration.

That being said, the Cardinals’ pre-arb salary formula is, whether purposefully or not, an awfully good way of making sure that even outstanding players like Flaherty don’t make much money before they qualify for arbitration. The Cardinals can throw their hands up and say that they couldn’t possibly break their policy of adhering to the formula just for a special case like Flaherty, because then everyone would want special treatment. The formula might ensure equal treatment for everyone, but it certainly doesn’t encourage fair treatment.

Flaherty will be arbitration-eligible at the end of the season and his case is sure to be an interesting one. Another big season would lead to a substantial payday. The Cardinals have all the incentive in the world to try to sign Flaherty to a cost-controlled extension, given his potential earnings, so that’s something to keep an eye on as well.

The salary arbitration structure is going to be one of the big points of discussion in the next round of CBA discussions after the 2021 season. Cases like Flaherty’s are going to be front and center.

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Carl Crawford arrested on domestic violence charge

Carl Crawford
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Former major league outfielder Carl Crawford has been arrested in Texas on a domestic violence charge, TMZ reports. The charge was designated as “assault fam/house mem impede breath circulate,” suggesting that Crawford allegedly choked someone. Crawford surrendered to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. The alleged incident occurred in May.

Crawford was in the news last week as well when two people — a 25-year-old woman and a five-year-old boy — were found dead at his home in Houston. The boy reportedly had trouble breathing and the woman jumped in to help him.

Crawford, who owns a record label called 1501 Certified Entertainment, posted a message on Instagram about the incident:

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🙏🏽🙏🏽

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There will likely be more information brought to light about Crawford’s alleged domestic violence incident in the coming days. It is unclear if there are any common factors between the domestic violence incident and the pool incident.