Cardinals Extend Matt Carpenter Contract Two Years

photo: Matt Carpenter (Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Wednesday, April 10) that they have signed All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter to a two-year (2020-21) contract extension that includes a vesting option for 2022.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Matt Carpenter (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

“Matt has been a consistent contributor to our team since his rookie season and he has worked hard to become one of the best players in the game today,” stated Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr.  “We are pleased to have Matt under contract, along with many of our other core players, for the next several years.”

Carpenter, who was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round (399th player overall) in 2009 out of Texas Christian University, has become one of the most accomplished leadoff hitters in Cardinals history while showing tremendous versatility in the field, serving as an everyday third baseman, first baseman and second baseman during his eight-plus (2011-19) seasons in the majors.

“Carp has been a great player and someone who has always put team first,” said Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.  “He grew up in a baseball family, has worked tirelessly to advance his skills and knowledge of the game, and he thrives at being a catalyst for our team.  We are extremely pleased to announce that Matt will remain a Cardinal beyond the 2019 season.”

Carpenter, 33, has compiled a .273 career batting mark with 134 home runs, 585 walks and a .376 on-base pct. in 1,031 career games, twice finished among the top-10 in National League MVP voting (2013 & 2018) and was named an All-Star in 2013, 2014 & 2016.  He was voted the recipient of the N.L. Silver Slugger award at second base in 2013 when he set the club single-season record for doubles (55) by a left-handed batter and also posted league highs for hits (199) and runs scored (126).

Never one to wear batting gloves, Matt has established the Cardinals franchise records for career (23) and single-season (8) lead-off homers and he has compiled the top career on-base pct. (.388) among active lead-off hitters.  Since 2013, Matt is currently leading the majors with his 245 doubles and he is one of just three players (also Mike Trout, 652 & Paul Goldschmidt, 608) with over 600 runs scored (616).

Matt collected his 1,000th career hit on March 29, becoming one of just six players to amass 1,000 or more hits while wearing the birds on the bat, joining Stan Musial, Yadier Molina, Marty Marion, Terry Moore and Pepper Martin.

Carpenter joins All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (2020-24), All-Star pitcher Miles Mikolas (2020-23) and outfielder José Martínez (2019-20) among Cardinals who have signed multi-year contract extensions since February.

Brian Walton’s take

The 2019 race across MLB for players to sign extensions with their current teams before reaching free agency continues…

It is important to understand that for 2020, the Cardinals already had an $18.5 million team option (or a $2 million buyout) for Carpenter’s services. So the odds were already extremely good that Carpenter would be back at least one more year after this one. This new extension assures Carpenter both 2020 and 2021 plus 2022 if he remains healthy.

Carpenter will receive a total of $39 million for 2020 and 2021 combined and another $18.5 million for 2022 (the same amount as the prior team 2020 option) if he makes 1,100 plate appearances over the first two years. This was reported by Mark Saxon of The Athletic.

For prospect watchers, this extension locks up St. Louis’ corner infield positions (see Goldschmidt above) through at least 2022 and perhaps 2023. However, it is not clear if Carpenter received no-trade protection. If his current deal has it, the information was not reported.

The Cardinals have four ranked third base prospects working toward St. Louis in Nolan Gorman, Elehuris Montero, Malcom Nuñez and Evan Mendoza.

Another eventual option to help resolve a stacking situation could be the designated hitter, but it may not be implemented in the National League until 2023, if then.

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