Cardinals Extend Chris Carpenter

The Cardinals and ace Chris Carpenter have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $21MM that will provide the right-hander with additional security and provide the Cardinals with a productive starter for two more seasons.

Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported the move on Sunday and the Cardinals have now announced it.

Carpenter, 36, was in the final guaranteed year of the five-year, $63.5MM deal he signed before the 2007 season. The team held a $15MM club option for his services next year, but Strauss says the option is rolled into a longer structure that saves the team about $4MM in 2012. This extension includes no appearance-based incentives or options either. Late last month, Ben Nicholson-Smith said Carpenter "may well be a luxury on whom GM John Mozeliak is prepared spend," and he certainly has.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted last week that the team would hammer out a new contract at a lower salary in advance of the November option decision.

Now four full years out from Tommy John surgery, Carpenter has pitched to a 3.75 ERA in 206 1/3 innings this season. Although his ground ball rate (45.6%) is the lowest it's ever been since he joined St. Louis, he does boast his highest strikeout rate (7.15 K/9) in five years as well as a strong walk rate (2.18 BB/9). The 2005 Cy Young Award winner's fastball velocity has jumped a tick as well.

Last month we heard that the Cardinals were expected to pick up Adam Wainwright's options for 2012 and 2013, while the right-hander recovers from his own Tommy John surgery. Carpenter's new deal gives Mozeliak one less thing to worry about in a winter that figures to be dominated by negotiations with Albert Pujols.


59 Responses to Cardinals Extend Chris Carpenter Leave a Reply

  1. Same here. I would think they would focus with the Pujols question before tackling other needs on the team.

    • Triteon 4 years ago

      In a way this could be viewed as a move to help the Pujols negotiations: showing him a commitment to re-signing the leaders and core players, rather than just clearing cap room to pay a Pujols-sized contract with little chance of making the playoffs.

  2. bjsguess 4 years ago

    That was a very generous move by Carp. It would be the same as playing next year at $15m and then year 2 at $6m. Great bargain for the Cards. I was assuming more like 2/$25 or even 3/$33 in the event he would take less annually for more security.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      except he wasn’t guaranteed that 15 million; it was a club option… and they very well may have not exercised it.

      • Redbirds16 4 years ago

        He still could have gotten at least $30 million (and 3 years) via free agency.

        He signed a below-market deal to stay in StL. Bottom line.

        • Ian Smell 4 years ago

          Nobody would give him 3 years…except the Phillies.

      • bjsguess 4 years ago

        My bad. I misread that.

  3. flickadave 4 years ago

    Wow, that seems like a bargain for someone of his proven ability. I bet the Yankees would have paid him close to double that. Nice to see someone sign an extension just because he likes to play somewhere.

    • chico65 4 years ago

      Yeah, if he plays up to his ability in his age 37 and 38 seasons.  I realize he’s missed nearly 3 full seasons, but what are his chances of beating father time?  If he does- great deal.  If not, you’re spending 10.5 mil [a year] that could have gone to Mr. Pujols.

  4. An ace?  He’s a number 2, let’s be honest

    • chaifetz10 4 years ago

      True.  I’d take him as a number 3 even…I just wanted to see him around for another year or two to possibly mentor Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez.   His days of being an ace are probably over, but his experience will benefit this team for sure.

    • Lanidrac 4 years ago

      Well sure, but Wainwright will be back as the ace next season.

  5. Much love Carpenter.  Glad to see you aren’t going anywhere.

    • chico65 4 years ago

      I haven’t seen this much love for a carpenter since JC.  Hope this one doesn’t get crucified over the next couple of years.

      • crashcameron 4 years ago

        Bob Seger’s version of “If I Were A Carpenter” 
        smokin’ hottest ever!

  6. Gator4444 4 years ago

    Cool.  So why’d they trade their best hitting prospect in 10 years for E-Jack again?

    •  I have not heard one person say they miss him……  John Jay is a better offensively & defensively. The numbers don’t lie.

      • True point, Rasmus is a headcase but a headcase with significant potential. If he matures, you know like players in their mid twenties do you got an all-star on your hand.

        In all reality the likelihood he would have found his way under La Russa were probably zero so it’s probably a good trade.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

         lol love it.

        Colby Rasmus, 2nd season..  OPS+ 133 age 23
        Jon Jay, 2nd season…………OPS+ 122 age 26

        Rasmus was better at a younger age.

        • Tom McCoy 4 years ago

          What has Rasmus done for Toronto this year?

          • William Kafer 4 years ago

            Put up poor numbers in a very small sample size, and then got hurt. This year isn’t the point, though. The point is that in 3-5 years when you look back at their production, Rasmus should come out (way, imo) ahead.

          • Lanidrac 4 years ago

            You forget that we also get Rzepczinski for 3 more years and a likely option to be picked up on Dotel. Also keep in mind that Rasmus is arbitration elgible next year (Jay is not), which gives us more money to keep Pujols.

          • Matt Talken 4 years ago

            Rzepcynski might be the only jewel in that trade for the Cardinals.  Dotel is an aged reliever, and generally, relievers in their late 30s tend to fall off a cliff pretty quick, and besides, he’s at best helpful to us for a couple more years before he’ll be retired.  Rasmus would have been with us for quite a few years, and would have likely improved.  There are reasons this guy was a top 10 prospect.

            Even if you prefer to see Jon Jay playing CF for us (which, if you notice, he hasn’t done quite as frequently as you would’ve thought if he’s the real savior), we still should’ve been able to get more than a rental starter pitcher and reliever along with a young lefty reliever who MIGHT turn into a bottom of the rotation starter.

          • The_BiRDS 4 years ago

            Thats what STL thought too… just you wait. He will be a flop

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            wow 92 plate appearances.. he should just quit baseball all together right?

            what a joke.  Rasmus’ potential alone is worth more then Jon Jay ever will.

            Hopefully Jay never struggles for an extended period, as I’m sure you will quickly change your tune on him as well right? or let me guess, you never liked Rasmus right? ha

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            Jay has already struggled for mulitiple extended periods……..I don’t know what St. Louis’ love fest is with this guy.  We will be lucky if he is an average centerfielder until Taveras is ready.

  7. I expected 20 million but I was close

  8. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    I heard that their is a possiblity of putting Carp in the bullpin at some point. Maybe after this contract is up he will stick around for a much cheaper salary and set up or even close

    • chico65 4 years ago

      …or put his bullpin skills to good use as a matador, entertaining the crowd during one of LaRussas many pitching changes 

      • Vossome93 4 years ago

        Yes! Thank you for that.

      • The_BiRDS 4 years ago

        Ha ha, you are right about that. Im praying for the headline “LaRussa Retires”

        That old man is so confused and senile.

        Although if he did a one year deal and we worked on Maddon the following year that would work for me.

    • BajaPete 4 years ago

      I have a hunch that after this contract extension is up, we may well be seeing Carp staying on…as pitchiing coach.  A lot depends on what Dave Duncan decides to do when (or even IF) he returns following his present extended leave of absence.  This decision would undoubtedly impact Tony LaRussa’s future plans as well…as he and Duncan in many ways are joined at the brain.  Meanwhile, as we battle back with our longest winning streak of the season, a season of injuries and setbacks, I’m thinking that following Carp’s signing, what a magnificent thing it would be if Albert decides that now, while we’re battling for the post season and closing well under any yardstick’s measurement…that NOW is the time to set aside his stipulation of no talks…and signs to be a Cardinal for life!  What an incredible boost that would be for a team that’s already playing its best baseball of the season!

      • BajaPete 4 years ago

        …and Berkman and Furcal will be the first two in line to re-up as well!

      • gunsnascar 4 years ago

        pass that doobie bogart you must have had enough if you think all that is going to happen.

  9. I disagree about Rasmus.  His defense was bad and seems unwilling to listen to anyone other than his dad.  Even if he turns out to be an above average lifetime player, you don’t want those guys on your team.  He may better suited as a 4th outfielder/DH in the AL.

    • I am sure he becomes more than a 4th outfielder. He hit 23 bombs last year. Even though he might never reach his potential, he is likely going to be a 25 homer guy with a .255ish batting average. Steals probably around 20 as well. He is extremely streaky however. And there is no way he becomes a DH. He has plus speed, and his route running will surely improve.

  10. chaifetz10 4 years ago

    Why?  Do you not realize this actually saved the Cards money next year?

  11. $1529282 4 years ago

    Yeah, essentially forking over an extra $6M for Carpenter and being provided the luxury of deferring a chunk of his 2012 salary to 2013 is a real nail in the coffin on the Pujols talks for Mozeliak.

    Er, wait…….

  12. Kendall Adkins 4 years ago

    I say goodbye Berkman. I think Allen Craig would put up better offenive and defensive  numbers out in right field if he could play everyday and do so for millions less. So, next year we would have a ton of cheap, productive players. Jay, Craig, Freese, Cruz, Salas, Sanchez, Lynn, Motte, Boggs, Rzepcynski, McClellan, Schumaker, Theriot, and Descalso. Then we have Holliday, Lohse, Carpenter, Wainwright, Westbrook, Garcia, Molina, and possibly Furcal with decent sized contracts. I’m no expert, but I think that leaves enough for Albert. 

    Also, if you’re a Theriot hater, he has played good defense at 2nd since moving there, and hits left handed pitching very well. So I like a Skip-Theriot platoon depending on which hand the pitcher is. 

    I guess Greene and Punto would be okay off the bench. That just leaves one open spot. Maybe an outfielder from Memphis. 

  13. start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    Yes but only about 4 million (I’m including the buyout in the equation) and that doesn’t even address the point that a lot of people thought the Cards would have to let Carpenter go to keep Pujols. I won’t pretend to understand the finances of the Cards but the way I see it is even with Pujols averaging $25M a year the Cards might have to backload the contract unless they’re planning on raising the payroll again.

    While Pujols on the open market could certainly make for an interesting offseason, I think I’d be happier seeing him as a career Cardinal.

  14. $1529282 4 years ago

    You can spread out Carp’s 2012-13 salary over the middle portion of Pujols’ contract easily. I highly doubt they’d sign Carpenter if they hadn’t budgeted it 00out with a new deal for Pujols first. Carpenter basically gave them a discount to keep their strong 1-2-3 without breaking the bank in a way that actually hindered them from retaining Albert.

    Spreading out this 21M over the remainder of the contract equates to $3M per year from 2014-20, and that’s assuming they can’t raise payroll a little bit in ’12/’13, which we don’t know for certain.

  15. Vossome93 4 years ago

    Best. Post. Ever.

  16. chaifetz10 4 years ago

    Or I’m taking into effect the idea that more money than Carpenter’s is coming off the books…Berkman MAY be back, depending on what happens with Pujols, so that’s 8 mil right there plus the 4 mil saved next year from Carp’s new deal.  Also Lohse and Wesbrook will be in there last years, with Shelby Miller looking to take over for one (and Wainwright taking the spot of one of them after next year too).  That is more than 20-30 million coming off the books after next season.  The Cardinals can afford to keep the core of Pujols, Holliday, Wainwright, Carpenter, Molina…they just need to rely on their minor leagues to produce the supporting cast.  (and who would make them better defensively too).

  17. They would have to fill his spot with a player making the same or more money, so getting Carp on this deal saved/freed up money to deal with Pujols.  You can’t let Carp walk only to sign a cheaper, less accomplished pitcher.  This deal they save a lot of money and get/retain a better pitcher than they could of attained on the free agency market.  It’s likely you’ll see a similar move with Molina.  Possibly Berkman too.

  18. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    Deferred contract.

  19. chaifetz10 4 years ago

    Long term they will also have horrible contracts like Lohse and Westbrook off the books after next season too…with young guys like Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez who could step in by 2013 to save lots of cash.   Surround the core with strong young defensive players up the middle and the mashers at the corners, (Allen Craig in right or 3rd?) and you have your prototypical Cardinals team that should have great pitching and strong defense.  Something they haven’t done in a few years…

  20. start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    My knowledge of farm systems usually stops at the American League and what I need to know, how strong is the Cards farm?

    Long term, if they sign Pujols then they’ll be paying two of their hitters around $45M a year. Add to let let’s just assume they won’t be crazy and let the Flying Molina Brother walk, so that’s probably another $10M+… Again going over the Cot’s site it’s hard to figure out the Cards long term financial plans but that’s 3 players taking up potentially half the salary and we have yet to talk about Wainright, assuming a bounce back.

    I guess my real point is what’s the Cards breaking point with Pujols? Because even in the long term 2013 and 2014 they’ll have to make a couple of big decisions.

  21. Stl_Great 4 years ago

    Thanks, I was sort of thinking the same thing.

  22. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    We can’t keep both Theriot and Schumaker on the roster.  You say they are cheap, but when you add their salary together to make up one position, it’s not cheap.  One is fine to play 2B, but I don’t need to see that many light hitting MI on the roster.  Descalso can back up SS and 2B.  Everything else I agree with, but I don’t see any reason to pay Theriot 6MM next year to be bad at everything he does.

  23. gtl11 4 years ago

    Their farm system is strong but not elite. Likely would rank around 8-12 I’d guess. It’s a top heavy system with some potential superstars but not a lot of depth. In a midseason prospect ranking Keith Law took Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez (both RHP) as the #4 and #5 prospects in all of baseball, respectively. The other big name is Oscar Taveras, a 19yo outfielder who absolutely crushed older competition in the Midwest League this year. There are a lot of other talented guys too. Cox and Wong will likely be the 3B and 2B of the future. It’s a strong system.

    Your main point is largely true though. Financially, the Cardinals’ hands look to be tied in the next few years if they resign Pujols. They’ll have the flexibility to add roleplayers, but will have to rely on the farm system to provide difference makers. Of course they’ll already have a very good major league team, with a core of Pujols, Holliday, Wainwright, Garcia, Carpenter, Molina etc.

  24. Lanidrac 4 years ago

    Molina won’t be expensive until 2013, at which point Lohse and Westbrook will both be off the books with at least one, maybe both, of their replacements being one of our top pitching prospects (Miller or Martinez).

  25. Apparently the moderator didn’t agree…

  26. Vossome93 4 years ago

    The moderator must also be an English teacher.

  27. Ben_Cherington 4 years ago

    ahhh…what was it?

  28. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    nah, we have Cory Patterson

  29. nictonjr 4 years ago

    Depending on the yearly breakdown, say $9 mil in 2012 and $12 mil in 2013, they’ve taken away, in this example $8 mil, money from paying Pujols.  After wainwright and molina’s options are exercised, the Cards will have ~$70 mil spent for 2012…

  30. Lanidrac 4 years ago

    Molina has a cheap option. There’s no reason to worry about him right now.

  31. Lanidrac 4 years ago

    I agree. Theriot will probably be traded or non-tendered this offseason.

  32. Stl_Great 4 years ago

    It wasn’t even bad, I just typed iT lIke ThIs.

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