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Cardinals decline option on homegrown Gold Glover Wong, tiptoe into a winter of chilled spending, unknowns

ARLINGTON, Texas — An early hint of the disquieting offseason and limited spending ahead for the Cardinals came Wednesday when they elected to move on from traits their organization has long cherished — homegrown player, superb defense, cost-conscious contract — for something they need now.

The Cardinals notified Kolten Wong, a Gold Glove-winning keystone of their infield, they would not pick up the $12.5 million option on his contract for 2021 and that he would immediately become a free agent.

The motivation behind the move was to “create instant flexibility,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said, as they retool the team’s roster and reduce payroll.