Two-year deals for vets burned Cardinals

Posted by Scott Wuerz on March 4, 2013 

It seemed crazy when the Texas Rangers offered former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman a two-year deal when he sat out three quarters of last season with a variety of leg injuries.

While it remains to be seen if Berkman will pay off as a designated hitter in his new home, the Redbirds sure haven't had much luck lately when it comes to giving veterans two-year deals.

Berkman didn't, technically, get a two-year contract. He signed two one-year deals. But, after being the steal of the 2011 season when he took a cut rate to lead the St. Louis offense to a World Series victory, he basically did nothing to justify a much bigger paycheck in 2012. It doesn't seem that there was ever a second thought about bringing Berkman back for a third year.

Chris Carpenter signed a two-year, $21-million contract before the 2012 season, seemingly doing St. Louis a favor by taking a lower annual rate than he would have got if the Birds picked up his $15-million option. But he ended up pitching 17 regular season innings in the first year of the deal. Hopes that he'd rebound after mid-season surgery and finish strong in 2012 died on the eve of spring training when the Cardinals announced that Carpenter wasn't any better than he was before the surgery... And now his season and likely his career are seemingly over.

Rafael Furcal was an All-Star in the first half of the 2012 season after he inked a two-year extension with St. Louis in the wake of Albert Pujols leaving the Cardinals. But he hit the wall in the second half. And by September he couldn't throw because of problems with his right elbow, more than a minor problem for a shortstop. Unlike Carpenter, Furcal opted not to have surgery and instead just hoped that things would get better. They didn't. Now he has been completely shut down and conventional wisdom is that he is going to need surgery after all.

Carlos Beltran also got a two-year deal with saved Albert Pujols money. Like Beltran, he was an All-Star in the first half of 2012 -- and he was largely missing in action in the second half. Betran's got a balky knee, so we'll see if he can keep things together for one more year and be a productive player.

 

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