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Cardinals ink deals with Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery, five others, per sources

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Sports columnists Ben Frederickson and Jeff Gordon preview key storylines that will loom large during Cardinals Winter Warm-Up, the unofficial kick-off to the 2023 season.

In advance of Friday's deadline that send the Cardinals and a handful of players to arbitration hearings throughout spring, the club finalized contracts with two members of the rotation and continued to negotiate others with players such as Gold Glove-winners Tommy Edman and Tyler O'Neill.

Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2023 season Friday morning and avoided the need for arbitration, according to multiple sources.

Their signings started a blitz of agreements for the Cardinals that left only two arbitration-eligible players unsigned before Friday's deadline to exchange salary figures. All-Star closer Ryan Helsley and lefty Genesis Cabrera did not come to an agreement with the Cardinals and are likely headed to an arbitration hearing. 

The team confirmed one-year deals with seven players.

Flaherty signed a one-year deal worth $5.4 million, according to a source with direct knowledge of the contract. Montgomery signed a $10-million deal for the coming season, according to a source. (That figure was mentioned as the likely meeting point in Friday morning's Post-Dispatch.)

Both pitchers are in their final year of arbitration eligibility and can become free agents at season's end.

The Cardinals also finalized a one-year deal with Edman before Friday's deadline. He will make $4.2 million, and his performance this past season also earned him a bonus paid from Major League Baseball's new general fund that is allocated to top performing players before they reach arbitration.

Other players to avoid arbitration included catcher Andrew Knizner, 27, who signed for a one-year, $1.1 million deal. Outfielder O'Neill, 27, finalized a deal worth $4.95 million. Right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson, 28, signed a $2.65 million one year deal.

Jordan Hicks also reached a one-year, $1.8-million agreement with the Cardinals on Friday afternoon to avoid arbitration. He, too, will be a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. 

Representatives for Helsley and Carbera will present the Cardinals a salary request Friday evening and the Cardinals will counter with a salary offer. Those numbers will be public and the basis for an arbitration hearing this spring. An arbiter will choose between the two. 

The Cardinals acquired Montgomery, 30, from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, and the lefty went 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 11 starts with his new team. With only one starter under contract for the 2024 season, the Cardinals intend to explore extensions with at least two starters this spring, and their agreement with Montgomery on Friday does not preclude them from approaching him with a longer-term offer at any point.

Flaherty, 27, is coming back from a season he finished in the Cardinals' bullpen. The previous three seasons have been interrupted by quarantine and injuries and kept the young right-hander from building on his impressive second half in 2019.

The Cardinals have been encouraged by Flaherty's health and progress this offseason and he'll come to spring training expected to be one of the pitchers who leads the rotation. 

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