Cardinals sign first baseman Allen Craig to five-year deal

Posted by Scott Wuerz on March 8, 2013 

The Cardinals announced Friday that they have signed one of their key players to a five-year contract extension.

No. It's not Adam Wainwright.

The club gave a long term contract to 28-year-old first baseman Allen Craig. Terms have not yet been disclosed.

I really like Craig. So I think that's great news. But I have to wonder how third baseman David Freese, who has been with the Cardinals longer, is taking the news. Freese, of 2011 World Series Game 6 fame, had a somewhat contentious time coming to an agreement on a one-year contract this off-season.

The Cardinals balked at his arbitration request and Freese chaffed and the club's counter proposal before they finally settled.

It wouldn't be surprising if a competitive person with an ego is quite miffed about his teammate being financially taken care of while he's working on a year-to-year deal.

I wonder about two wildly hypothetical scenarios:

1) Could it be that the Cardinals signed Craig to a long term deal because it plans to trade first base prospect Matt Adams for shortstop help and the club wanted to be sure the position was set for the future before it did so?

Or, 2) Could David Freese not be in the Cardinals' long term plans because of his problems staying healthy combined with his off the field issues? No one is saying that Freese is a bad guy. But it could be that the Birds think their third baseman is a bad risk for a multi-year deal.

Then again, the team may very well be working on a contract for Freese and Wainwright, too, that would guarantee consistency for this club for years to come while allowing for financial wiggle room to add a player here and there to put it in postseason contention.

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