The extension trend in Major League Baseball does not seem to be going away anytime soon.
In an official announcement Wednesday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals revealed that they have agreed to terms on a two-year, $37 million contract extension with three-time All Star infielder Matt Carpenter. The deal will add two additional years (following the conclusion of the 2019 season) to the remainder of Carpenter’s six-year, $52 million contract with the Cardinals.
Carpenter, 33, will make $14.5 million this season before receiving guaranteed salaries of $18.5 million in 2020 and 2021. Included in the deal is an $18.5 million club option for the 2022 season, with a $2 million buyout. Notably, the 2022 salary becomes guaranteed so long as Carpenter has at least 550 plate appearances in 2021 (1,100 overall in both years).
In response to the announcement of the deal, the always-classy Carpenter told the press, “It’s really very humbling. To be able to potentially be here for an entire career is something that I don’t take for granted. Every day it’s something that I try to live up to.”
Carpenter, who was initially drafted in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Draft has been a St. Louis Cardinal for his entire major league career. In roughly 9 complete career seasons (1,031 games) with the Cardinals, Matt Carpenter has slashed .273/.376/.469 with 134 HRs and 488 RBIs. In 2018, his best career season (production wise), Carpenter slashed .257/.374/.523 with 36 HRs and 81 RBIs.
Carpenter is a three time All-Star (2013, 2014 and 2016) and has finished in the top ten of MVP voting in both 2013 and 2018.
In comments to the press, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak sung Carpenter’s praises, “he’s created enormous flexibility for the Cardinals because he was always willing to play a different position to allow us to maximize our team. Really what it says is he’s truly a team player. So, the reason we’re motivated to try to do this is where he’s at in his career, we wanted him to continue to wear the Cardinal uniform.”
Notably, Carpenter is now the fourth St. Louis Cardinals player since February to sing a long-term deal; the others include (newly acquired) superstar first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, pitcher Miles Mikolas, and outfielder Jose Martinez.
Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. summarized the thinking behind these decisions simply, “When we get a core player, we like to keep him here. We’ve made every effort to do that since I’ve been here and before.”
In 2019, after getting off to an extremely hot start at the plate, the Cardinals have tempered out as of late. With a record of 6-5, good for 2nd place in the NL Central, look for the impassioned Cardinals offense to be a force to be reckoned with in 2019 and seasons to come.