Cardinals Nearing Extension With Matt Carpenter

11:50am: Carpenter's deal will be worth $50-55MM if completed, Rosenthal tweets.

11:40am: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the extension, if completed, would buy out two free agent seasons (Twitter links). The two sides are "very close," says Rosenthal.

11:17am: The Cardinals and Carpenter are closing in on an extension of "significant length," sources tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The deal is believed to buy out all three of his arbitration seasons and at least one free agent season, "and probably more than that," according to Heyman. 

12:06am: The Cardinals are talking with Matt Carpenter about a long-term contract extension, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  Cards GM John Mozeliak confirmed that he had been in contact with Carpenter's agents at SSG, and though the general manager gave no hint as to whether or not a deal was close, Goold said that Carpenter left the club's Spring Training facility in the middle of Wednesday's game, "presumably to have a physical."

2013 was Carpenter's first full season as a Major Leaguer and he delivered in style, hitting .318/.392/.481 with 11 homers and leading the league in runs (126), doubles (55) and hits (199) while producing 7.0 fWAR and 6.6 rWAR.  He did all of this while playing primarily as a second baseman, a position Carpenter had never played as a professional before last year (he'll move back to third base this season).  This spectacular campaign earned Carpenter his first All-Star appearance, an NL Silver Slugger Award and a fourth-place finish in NL MVP voting.

Carpenter was also one of baseball's top bargains, as he did all that while still playing for around the league minimum.  He isn't eligible for arbitration until next winter and the Cards have him under team control through the 2017 season, and an extension would give St. Louis some cost-certainty through those three arb years.  Since Carpenter isn't eligible for free agency until his age-31 season is over, a multiyear pact would give him security now rather than risk missing his chance at a big contract if he's already seen as being on the decline once he hits the open market.  This isn't to say that Carpenter will be at a negotiating disadvantage, of course, as he's still coming off an elite season.


81 Responses to Cardinals Nearing Extension With Matt Carpenter Leave a Reply

  1. Dave 1 year ago

    5 years, 40 million, with team option.

    • Brian 1 year ago

      Probably a good guess. Craig got 5/31 but he didn’t finish 4th in the MVP the year before he signed his.

      • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

        Per my comment above, Carp’s a plus defender, and at a defensively more important position. 6/$55 isn’t unreasonable for either side.

  2. Tim 1 year ago

    Watching this guy develop even further is going to be a treat. I wonder if those doubles are going to translate into round-trippers eventually? Either way, what a bat!

    • Ferrariman 1 year ago

      i doubt it. I love carpenter but development isn’t really going to happen. He cracked the majors late and was considered a finish product when he got here. He’s like 27 already. We should expect an average of .290/.380/.475 throughout the life of this deal. Very good deal.

      • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

        I agree. Expecting a 28 year old to improve isn’t fair. What did Billy Beane say? Something like “By the time you’re 27, you are what you are.”

        • Lionel Bossman Craft 1 year ago

          As Cliff Lee rolls his eyes.

          • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

            Personally, I’d have gone with Jose Batista – hitters to hitters and apples to apples.

            There’s always the chance that a player will defy the odds. Nothing is impossible and I believe I can fly and all that. It’s just very very unlikely that Matt Carpenter is going to have a eureka moment and outperform last season over and over again. The odds are much better that he is at his best right now and that he will steadily decline through his thirties like most every hitter ever.

            Unless he starts taking magic pills, but they test for most of those now.

          • burnboll 1 year ago

            In some areas, like walks, carpenter might actually improve.

            But I totally agrees with your assessment of him already peaking.

            The total value of him will be in some regression.

            Although, I think his defensive value will improve slightly from moving to third.

            Not disagreeing with you, just pointing out that some aspects are likely to improve a little.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      That sounds like Ruben amaro wishful thinking, no offense. I think a realistic expectation would be to see carp regress into a 3-4 war player. That’s still very very good. And any team would be fine with that production.

  3. Jeffy25 1 year ago

    Buy out his prime, get an option, and he’ll be able to maintain his production somewhat (those that complain of his babip, look at his contact rates and plate coverage)

    This is the next market efficiency. College guys that can be developed, and never get expensive because their first six years and first couple years of free agency are their peaks.

    • Teufelshunde4 1 year ago

      Id say 5/25 or 5/30 for Carp… I just keep hoping the Cards stay ahead of the curve in drafting and developing late round talents.. It has really helped propel the current run of contending.

  4. Jeffy25 1 year ago

    Buy out his prime, get an option, and he’ll be able to maintain his production somewhat (those that complain of his babip, look at his contact rates and plate coverage)

    This is the next market efficiency. College guys that can be developed, and never get expensive because their first six years and first couple years of free agency are their peaks.

  5. Homeruntrot 1 year ago

    Pay that man his money……….

  6. blob 1 year ago

    I’d extend him, especially since he’s willing to move around the infield.

    Can’t help but wonder how similar his production at third is going to be to Chris Johnson’s next season. I’d think both would regress a little. Not necessarily a terrible thing. Just never really made that connection until just now.

    • Red_Line_9 1 year ago

      .359 BABIP was in the MLB top 10…so maybe some average regression, but maybe a few more doubles into homers

      • Jeffy25 1 year ago

        Check out his contact rates.

        But many of his doubles aren’t off the wall doubles.

    • jibbers 1 year ago

      Matt Carpenter was a much, much better player than Chris Johnson last year (7 fWAR vs. 2.8 fWAR). He also doesn’t have 3 seasons of mediocre performance in the majors preceding his breakout year. Both are prime regression candidates, but Carpenter is a considerably better player than Johnson.

      • blob 1 year ago

        i was not factoring in defense or saying they were the same overall player. just comparing their batting lines for the fun of it. neither should hit that many hrs or sb’s, and there’s a lot of value tied to their avgs. thats all i meant. just had never really thought about comparing the two. aside from 2011, johnson’s batting line most full seasons is about what a reasonable expectation for carpenter should be: .280-.300 with 12-15 hrs and a few sbs. walk rates, and k rates are different, of course. again, mainly just comparing their overall production at the plate. not meant to be a deep comment on either player.

  7. Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

    What’s the rush? He’s 28 and still 4 years away from free agency. Hypothetically, if he had signed as a free agent and still had four years left on contract, would they be talking about extending him even further?

    I tend to not question the Cardinals’ FO because they seem to get everything right, but I’m not seeing the upside for them here.

    • Homeruntrot 1 year ago

      hard to judge until we see how much he gets. If he has another year like he did last year, he’s going to get expensive in arbitration. There could definitely be upside to an early extension.

    • stl_cards16 1 year ago

      Likely has a lot to do with getting some cost certainty. The Cardinals are going to have a lot of players arbitration eligible over the next 4+ years. Getting some key players locked in so you have a little more certainty in the payroll is a good idea for a mid-payroll team.

      • Homeruntrot 1 year ago

        excellent point

      • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

        Yeah, I can see it if he’s willing to give a pretty hefty discount over what a MVP-calibur second baseman could expect through arbitration. The timing just seems strange to me since they essentially have a free year this season to further judge his true talent level.

        Either way, it doesn’t look at all like a blunder to me. It just seems at least a year too early.

    • Jeffy25 1 year ago

      I think it’s a really good chance he produces at least 80% of his 2013 value in 2014.

      Which would make him very expensive in the future.

      Hoping to lock him up gives he cards cost certainty, and gives carpenter more money than he’ll ever spend in life in case he ever gets badly hurt

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        I think it’s fair to expect or hope for around 3-3.5 war in 2014. Which is only about half the WAR he accumulated last year.

        But still valuable.

        • Jeffy25 1 year ago

          3.5 based off what?

          His contact rates show he should be a .340-350 babip hitter.

          How is he going to regress that much?

          In order to be a 3.5 war player, he would have to significantly drop in production in a lot of areas.

          He isn’t going to drop that much without a total change in approach.

          • -C 1 year ago

            Let’s slow down just a little bit. Carpenter put up a career-high LD% (don’t know what he had in MiLB, but it was a 4% jump over last season), and a career-low K%.

            It not unrealistic to suggest those components are due for some regression. If that happens, even back to 2012 levels (which weren’t shabby, either), he’s probably a 3-3.5 WAR guy.

            Pitchers will also have more advanced scouting reports on his game and can make adjustments to avoid his strengths/attack his weaknesses. Carpenter kind of jumped up and surprised everyone last year, having only played a half season in the big leagues before 2013, and that won’t be the case this year.

            I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Carpenter’s a bad player, but there’s plenty of reasons why he probably won’t replicate his 2013 season.

            -C

          • -C 1 year ago

            Let’s slow down just a little bit. Carpenter put up a career-high LD% (don’t know what he had in MiLB, but it was a 4% jump over last season), and a career-low K%.

            It not unrealistic to suggest those components are due for some regression. If that happens, even back to 2012 levels (which weren’t shabby, either), he’s probably a 3-3.5 WAR guy.

            Pitchers will also have more advanced scouting reports on his game and can make adjustments to avoid his strengths/attack his weaknesses. Carpenter kind of jumped up and surprised everyone last year, having only played a half season in the big leagues before 2013, and that won’t be the case this year.

            I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Carpenter’s a bad player, but there’s plenty of reasons why he probably won’t replicate his 2013 season.

            -C

    • Mike1L 1 year ago

      I think it makes sense for both sides, and especially for the Cardinals if there isn’t a no trade clause, because he could be a valuable asset to flip in three years.

      • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

        They already have him for the next four years anyway. He is tradeable right now if they so choose. If they sign him to a long contract, he becomes less valuable as a trade piece since he comes attached to guaranteed money.

        • burnboll 1 year ago

          I disagree, I think his worth will be higher in trades if he’s tied up to a relatively cheap long term deal.

        • Jeffy25 1 year ago

          If they don’t lock him up, and he is anywhere close to as good as he was last year, hell cost twice as much as this proposed deal.

    • bhambravesfan 1 year ago

      Arbitration will pay him more if the doubles translate into HR. Pay him now, possibly save later

      • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

        And arbitration will pay him less if his batting average drops 40 points, which is a more likely scenario than a sudden power surge at age 28.

        If the rumors are true and it is a 6 year deal, the club is now guaranteeing seven years (this year plus the contract that starts in 2015) when they had him year to year for the next four years. Are they really saving enough money by not letting this year play out first? Is the Matt Carpenter a year from now going to be a money-hungry maniac who demands $20 million a year? Probably not. They will still be negotiating with the same guy in the future. It just seems more logical to see how 2014 turns out for him.

        Like I said earlier, I don’t think it’s a terrible move. It just seems like a needless assumption of risk when there is no hurry at all. Four years is a long time in MLB. The way the Cardinals’ farm system has been going recently, they may have a logjam of 3B/2B prospects by the time Carpenter was due to hit free agency. Heck, who heard of Matt Carpenter four years ago?

        • Jeffy25 1 year ago

          His average isn’t dropping 40 points.

          Google xbabip, and figure it out. He isn’t getting that bad with his plate coverage and contact rates.

          • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

            I Googled xbabip but I didn’t see anything about 28 year olds suddenly becoming home run hitters. Should I use Bing?

            My original statement was that he is more likely to see a big BA drop than become a power hitter. Neither scenario is likely, but becoming a power hitter is MUCH less likely. It’s not his goal and it shouldn’t be an expectation of him.

          • Jeffy25 1 year ago

            Xbabip shows that based on his contact rates, he should be fairly close to the same hitter and have a marginal regression.

            He probably won’t ever be a home run hitter. But if he continues to have the same contact rates, which are a sustainable thing in baseball, he should carry a .300/.390/.475 line.

          • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

            I Googled xbabip but I didn’t see anything about 28 year olds suddenly becoming home run hitters. Should I use Bing?

            My original statement was that he is more likely to see a big BA drop than become a power hitter. Neither scenario is likely, but becoming a power hitter is MUCH less likely. It’s not his goal and it shouldn’t be an expectation of him.

    • blob 1 year ago

      The rush would be that it’s easy to get these kids to agree to trade some profits down the road for immediate stability… but that’s only if they aren’t knocking on free agency’s door. the closer they get to free agency, the less of a discount the teams can get.

      it all just comes down to saving as much money as possible on a player they believe in.

  8. stl_cards16 1 year ago

    Rosenthal says a 6 year deal between $50-55MM

  9. stl_cards16 1 year ago

    Rosenthal says a 6 year deal between $50-55MM

  10. LordOfTheSwings 1 year ago

    6 year/52m.

  11. Jeffy25 1 year ago

    6/55?

    Maybe an option for a third free agency year?

    Free agent years are 12 and 15?

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      A 6 year deal would buy out 3 FA year already. Carpenters 2014 salary is already agreed on and this deal would cover 2015-2020.

      • -C 1 year ago

        Are you sure?? He wasn’t in arbitration, so I’m not certain that they had already agreed upon a figure for this season. Cot’s doesn’t have anything listed.

        I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m not certain you’re right, either.

        -C

      • TheNextEpstein 1 year ago

        A 6 year deal if started today would cover 1 pre arbitration year, his 3 arbitration years, plus 2 free agent years.

  12. Curt Green 1 year ago

    Awesome.

  13. SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

    Given that the Cards kind of pioneered this move with Allen Craig, I’m sure that whatever the details are, this will be a win-win. 6/$50-55, given that he’s a plus defender, as opposed to Craig, and at a more primo defensive position, sounds about right.

    • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

      Is he a plus defender? BR’s dWAR has him a negative value for his career. I know that can take a few years to get enough data to be meaningful, but I always thought he was more of the “you can live with the glove because the bat is great”-types.

      • lambird17 1 year ago

        He might not be a “plus” defender statistically, but it seems like he makes clutch defensive plays when needed. And the hot corner is his natural position, so he should be better.

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        While I don’t think carpenter ever will duplicate his 2013 season, I think it was a breakthrough year. He will regress, but to a higher level than he was prior to this breakout season.

        If Matt carpenter is a 3-4 war per year player the rest of the contract, it’s a great deal.

      • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

        He was 0.3 in dWAR last year. Previous years were partial plays, and at multiple positions, with most of his previous negative dWAR coming from OF play. And, remember, 3B was his original position. So, I’ll put him at 0.3-0.5 dWAR this year.

    • Revery 1 year ago

      “The Cardinals invented everything”
      -Jon Hart, The 1990’s

      • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

        Bernie Miklasz invented the shrine of the Cardinal Way.

        • Revery 1 year ago

          That does not even make sense. Cardinals did not pioneer the early extension, Cardinals did not pioneer analytic decision-making, Cardinals did not pioneer player development. The Cardinals have pioneered in developing a disrespectful and down right snobby fanbase. Now I have only seen about ten of the current ballparks, but St. Louis is also in the lead for producing the most boring baseball environment in the nation. There is no Shrine of the Cardinal Way and Bernie is just a sports writer.

          • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

            Sorry you didn’t recognize the facetiousness in the comment immediately above, or haven’t read any of his recent columns. I’ve commented on my blog on the “Cardinal Way” and on some fans getting overblown, in fact.

            I didn’t say the Cards pioneered analytic decision making. But, in offering extensions that covered all arb years plus the start of free agency, I think the Craig contract is at least somewhat of a pioneer.

            That said, the Cards certainly did not pioneer a disrepectful or snobby fan base. Nor is it the most boring baseball environment in the nation.

            Now, the Cubs may have pioneered the most jealous fan base in the Midwest, at least, but that’s another story.

          • Revery 1 year ago

            Go Cubs Go! That was too mean probably, but the Cardinal Way is overblown and forcing the Cards into a select group of hated organizations. Since you blog Cards, google The Politics of the Cardinal Way. Interesting and current read. But that Craig contract is 15 years past being precedent. Jon Hart gave out the same type of arb/first years of FA extensions to Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Manny Ramirez, and I think Jim Thome and a couple others.

          • Jeffy25 1 year ago

            Wether they pioneered player development or not, they have certainly perfected it.

          • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

            I’m far from a Cardinals fan, but they really did pioneer player development. The farm system didn’t exist until Branch Rickey (then in St. Louis’ front office) invented it in the 1930s. He actually had to fight the commisioner pretty fiercely to keep it going too. I think Rickey is still incredibly underappreciated for how much he contributed to the game.

            As for the other stuff, yeah – some of the St. Louis media can go overboard with their homerism. That’s not really a unique problem in sports, though. Lots of towns get a little too hung up on themselves sometimes.

            Edit: I do agree on the atmosphere at Busch. Deadest packed house I’ve ever been in. Everyone seems to be on their phone or waving at friends in other sections. Unfortunately, I think ticket prices have kept the good ol’ fashioned baseball fans at home while the riches from the ‘burbs fill up the stadium.

            /end cranky old guy rant

  14. Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

    his re-dedication to his health paid dividends. Solid player.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      Was he sick before?

      • Drew M 1 year ago

        He was overweight.

        • burnboll 1 year ago

          He looks real skinny. Sure you didn’t mix him up with someone else, like jonathan broxton or CC Sabathia?

          • cardsfan67 1 year ago

            No, he was injured in college and re-dedicated himself to baseball, he lost about 40lbs before his senior season.

          • Jeffy25 1 year ago

            No, he used to be kind of overweight, especially in college.

          • Drew M 1 year ago

            In college he gained a lot of weight. After he hurt his arm, he decided to dedicate himself to baseball and went on a diet and lost a lot of weight.

          • burnboll 1 year ago

            I read that he supposedly was great at beer bottle curls.

      • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

        weight issue. Stopped working out and began tossing back Coors. He was really good at TCU and got lazy. I am glad to see him succeed, he really is a good ball player. I think he was @ 240 lbs at one point.

  15. Ferrariman 1 year ago

    6 years is the ideal length. Means he’s on contract till he’s 34 and just about to leave his prime. And carpenter gets to make some big bucks when people thought he’d be just another utility guy 2 years go.

  16. TheNextEpstein 1 year ago

    Great player, solid deal for both parties involved. Cardinals should be looking at some of their young pitching to extend next!

  17. Dakota Bramer 1 year ago

    I see last year as his career year. However, I am not saying he won’t be solid or even very good over the course of this potential deal. Realistically I wouldn’t be surprised if he posts numbers in the realm of .280-.290 BA, .360-.370 OB, and around a .450 slug. With the numbers flying around of what the extension may be worth, he is going to be an absolute bargain in this market.

  18. Dakota Bramer 1 year ago

    I see last year as his career year. However, I am not saying he won’t be solid or even very good over the course of this potential deal. Realistically I wouldn’t be surprised if he posts numbers in the realm of .280-.290 BA, .360-.370 OB, and around a .450 slug. With the numbers flying around of what the extension may be worth, he is going to be an absolute bargain in this market.

  19. stl_cards16 1 year ago

    You do realize third base is his natural position, right?

  20. Jeffy25 1 year ago

    How is he over-rated?

  21. you do realize pitcher was Rick Ankiel’s natural position right? You do realize neil walkers’ original position was third right? You do realize Alex Gordons originally was a third baseman, Chase Headley outfielder. Just because its their “natural” position doesnt mean it will work out. The ball is hit a littler harder in the majors

  22. stl_cards16 1 year ago

    Matt Carpenter has logged 509.2 innings at 3rd and has handled it fine. I think he can handle the switch back to a position he’s more comfortable at.

  23. Drew M 1 year ago

    Doesnt mean it wont work out either.

  24. stl_cards16 1 year ago

    Besides him playing there apparently A LOT more than you realiaze, no I don’t think he’s the best 3rd baseman. I think he’s a good baseball player that will probably never have another 7 WAR season. I think he’s a 4-5 WAR player that will be solid for quite a few years. But hey, don’t let me change your fantasy of all Cardinal fans.

  25. Hey nice I think he will be a solid third baseman to glad that you don’t think he is elite

  26. I hope it works out

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