The Cardinals continue to impress me with the long term extension deals they make on their players.
Today they announced a 6 year contract extension with Matt Carpenter for $52 million. So that's $8.66 million a year to eat up Carpenter's three years of arbitration and two of his free agent years.
Matt Carpenter had an MVP caliber year in 2013, leading the National League in runs, hits, and doubles and placing fourth in MVP voting. Even if he doesn't perform quite as well as he did in 2013, it's still a solid signing and they didn't stretch their dollars too much. The Cardinals will get him through his age 33 season.
As a comparison, Dan Uggla got $62 million for 5 years by Atlanta in 2011 when he was 31. Omar Infante signed a $30 million contract for four years and he's 32.
It follows up some other great signings, including Allen Craig for 5 years and $31 million. That contract takes Craig into his age 32 season. Allen Craig isn't going to surprise you as a superstar, but he's a solid offensive talent. For just over $6 million a year, he's a far better value than what you can get on the open market for a first basemen/outfielder.
They signed up Yadier Molina for a five year $75 million extension in 2012. That's basically $15 million a year for the best catcher in baseball through his age 34 season.
My favorite recent signing was the one for Adam Wainwright at 5 years for $97 million. Given the huge $150+ million contracts lately given to Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and Felix Hernandez, it looks like a steal.
Naturally, no free agent contract signing is without risks. However, the Cardinals regularly seem to play things smart. They spend non-outrageous sums of money on high reward/risk ratio players. Some will not work out but they seem to work out more often than not.
And it gets even better, w/ the Cardinals signing Aledmys Diaz to a contract. The Cardinals team depth is beginning to look crazy good.