The St. Louis Cardinals and reliever Jordan Walden have agreed to a two-year, $6.6 million contract. The contract now allows both the Cardinals and Walden to avoid salary arbitration. Walden will receive a signing bonus of $350,000 with salaries of $2.5 million in 2015 and $3.5 million in 2016. The Cardinals will have a $5.25 million option for 2017 with a $250,000 buyout. The deal was first announced by the team.
The 27-year-old Walden was acquired in the November trade that sent Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins to Atlanta while Walden was shipped to St. Louis along with outfielder Jason Heyward. Walden made $1.49 million and is expected to be the eighth inning man, setting up for closer Trevor Rosenthal in the spot vacated by Pat Neshek (now with the Astros). Walden was 0-2 with a 2.88 ERA, 3 saves, 20 holds and 62 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched setting up for Craig Kimbrel in the exact same role in 2014.
Walden has a career win-loss record of 12-13, appearing in 50 or more games in three out of the last four seasons. He has a 3.10 ERA and 254 strikeouts in 211 2/3 innings pitched. A former closer for the Angels, the 2011 All-Star will have no problem holding down the eighth inning for the Cardinals after doing an exceptional job for the Braves the last two seasons.