If you've turned on SportsCenter this week, you know it's been lousy with Mariano Rivera tribute stories.
The greatest closer of all-time is retiring after the season, and during the Yankees last homestand this week he received a much-deserved sendoff from the team and the fans.
In St. Louis, another player is most likely approaching his final regular season homestand as a Cardinal, but no one seems to even be talking about it…
Signed to a one-year, 3.15 million dollar contract this past off-season (to avoid arbitration), David Freese becomes a free agent when the Cardinals end their playoff run.
Here's what we know:
1) He's going to want more $$$ and he's going to want it for multiple years.
2) It seems like David Freese has been mega-famous for years. This is due to the fact that he kind of is. At least in St. Louis. But over the course of his Major League career, he's only made 4.47M dollars. Alex Rodriguez made that this past August.
3) The Cardinals, as far as we know, have not made David Freese a contract offer during the 2013 season, preferring to see how he'd perform. He's put up .261/ .375 SLG/ 8 HR/ 59 RBIs – about what'd you'd expect from a 3.15M player on a MLB team.
4) He's 30 now and will be 31 next season.
5) The Cardinals want to have Kolten Wong on the MLB roster for 2014. He can only play 2B. The Cardinals current 2B is having one of the best years a Cardinal middle infielder has ever had. He can also play 3B.
I don't think that you, even as a non-objective Cardinal fan, can object with. Age, salary and performance are what they are.
Can't be changed.
But everyone has been tippy-toeing around the elephant in the room… the 2014 Cardinals probably don't have room for David Freese unless he's willing to take a short, club-friendly contract.
The only leverage David Freese has is the cache of good will from an incredible 2011 post season and the fact he's a STL native.
Now no one's saying that Freese SHOULD leave. Or that we WANT him to leave.
Yet, as the Cardinals get ready to wrap the regular season up with 3 games against the Cubs, we know that the playoffs aren't usually the time teams and fans think about grand sendoffs.
Exits in the playoffs are like a bad car wreck… everything's going fine, until it isn't.
With a win tonight, the Cardinals will win the NL Central. The hard work has been done. And the best fans in baseball are going to have their last opportunity to reflect on 2013 before the real season starts.
If you think about it, give David Freese a little extra love if he does something good. Could be the last time you're in the stadium with him as a Cardinal.