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Gant, Cardinals agree on 1-year deal

@anne__rogers
January 10, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with their only eligible player, right-hander John Gant, agreeing to terms for the 2020 season on Friday. Financial terms are not yet known. Gant, 27, made $571,300 in 2019. Noon CT Friday was the deadline for Major League clubs to exchange salary figures

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with their only eligible player, right-hander John Gant, agreeing to terms for the 2020 season on Friday. Financial terms are not yet known.

Gant, 27, made $571,300 in 2019.

Noon CT Friday was the deadline for Major League clubs to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players, so the Cardinals were busy negotiating with Gant and his representative in hopes of avoiding a hearing, where three independent arbiters choose the salary that either the team or player has filed -- there is no middle ground.

Gant’s contract was among several finalized around MLB on Friday. Negotiations could have continued past Friday, but the Cardinals, as do many other teams, use the date as an unofficial deadline to come to an agreement. This “file and trial” approach ends negotiations once numbers are exchanged. The Cardinals have gone to a hearing just once since 1999, winning that hearing with pitcher Michael Wacha in 2017.

After being outdueled for the fifth spot in the rotation last spring, Gant ended up being one of the most vital parts of the Cardinals' bullpen, and he flirted with a National League All-Star selection over the first half of the season. He went 11-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 66 1/3 innings over 64 appearances. Yet he struggled late in the year, with a 6.65 ERA in the second half, and he was left off the team’s postseason roster.

Over a three-year span with the Cardinals, Gant, who was part of the trade in 2016 that sent Jaime García to the Braves, has a 3.64 ERA between the rotation and the bullpen.

The 38 players that are on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster all now have contracts for 2020. Shortstop Paul DeJong would have been arbitration-eligible this year, but he signed an extension in 2018 that could keep him under team control until 2025. Reliever Dominic Leone would have been in his second year of arbitration, but the Cardinals designated him for assignment in November. The players who are pre-arbitration eligible will have their salaries determined by the club during the spring.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.