Corey Knisley and Tony Francik are the first players to benefit from the player contract rules, that were included in the 2016 rules package for the Gateway Baseball League. The rule states that players and captains may enter into contracts, that will be enforced by the GBC. This protects the player from random trades and drops, as well as the captain from uncooperative players.
Kyle Knisley was the first captain to take advantage of this by signing both teammates to hefty contracts.
Tony Francik, the 2015 Home Run Derby champion, rode a massive hot streak after being traded to the Cardinals from the Athletics in late June. His dual use as an outfielder and a pitcher was a perfect fit on the Cardinals, and was an integral part of their National League Championship. Clearly, his value was recognized, because he was offered and accepted a 5-year deal with the team.
Corey Knisley, the league leader in all-time and single season home runs, was rewarded an even more hefty contract; twice as hefty, in fact. He's tied down with a 10-year deal, which includes a no-trade clause.
We think it's safe to say the Cardinals won't be changing any time soon. The question now is, with so much uncertainty in the rest of league, will these contracts help stabilize the league, and who will be the next to sign?