Matheny's contract extended; Carp retires

News-DemocratNovember 20, 2013 

— Manager Mike Matheny will be in St. Louis for the next four seasons, but pitcher Chris Carpenter is leaving.

Matheny received a three-year contract extension from the Cardinals on Wednesday, keeping him in the dugout through 2017.

Carpenter, meanwhile, has decided to retire after going 95-44 with a 3.07 ERA in nine seasons, four of which were derailed by injuries.

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, who made the announcements at a Busch Stadium news conference, said he is optimistic Carpenter will remain with the organization. Carpenter will meet with the media after Thanksgiving.

"I'm hopeful Carp will give serious consideration to joining the organization in time," Mozeliak said. "It's something he and I plan to sit down and discuss when we get into early January, but I do believe there's going to be an opportunity for him to contribute in some way."

Carpenter, 38, was unable to pitch this season after ongoing shoulder issues that limited him to three games in 2012.

"When you think back to everything this organization has been through in regard to his ups and downs, he will still go down as one of the greatest that we ever had," Mozeliak said.

Matheny, 43, has guided the Cardinals to the postseason in each of his first two seasons as manager, getting them to the World Series this fall before losing in six games to the Boston Red Sox.

"I would love to do this anywhere," Matheny said of managing. "But to do it here, in the place that I call home, is extremely special when you look at all the factors that go into that. ... The opportunity that I've been given is sometimes hard for me to get my head around. I'm very grateful. That's an extreme understatement.

"I just can't imagine doing anything that I enjoy more than what I'm doing right now. ... I can't wait to get to the yard every day. This place, this fan base, this group of guys and this organization as a whole, it's the best place you can be in this game."

Terms of Matheny's contract extension were not revealed. His current deal paid him $750,000 for the 2013 season, according to published reports.

"To see what Mike has done with his leadership and how this club responded certainly made this transition seamless," Mozeliak said.

Mozeliak said it made no sense to wait to have Matheny an extension.

"We didn't want Mike to go into next year worrying about a contract. We didn't want any distractions," Mozeliak said. "We knew we wanted Mike to be a part of this organization for a long time, so we might as well deal with him now and get it behind us. With the success he's had, he deserves this contract and we're pleased that we were able to get it done."

The Cardinals won 88 games in Matheny's first season in 2012, finishing one win short of a World Series berth. They lost to eventual champion San Francisco in the National League Championship Series.

The Cardinals won 97 games this season, which tied the Red Sox for the most in the majors. Matheny became the first manager in club history to take the team that far into the playoffs his first two years.

Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said signing Matheny to an extension was an offseason priority.

"What he's been able to accomplish over the first two years of his reign as manager is pretty historic," DeWitt said. "The seventh game of the NLCS his first year; the Cardinals' 19th National League pennant and getting us to the World Series this past year.

"I've always taken the position that the best way to operate a franchise and maintain continuity is to retain the core personnel responsible for our success. Whether it's on-field, front-office or elsewhere, we've tried to do that over the years. This is another example of that. Mike certainly is a core piece of our success."

Matheny finished fourth in the balloting for NL Manager of the Year this season, behind Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Don Mattingly and Atlanta's Fredi Gonzalez.

Carpenter closes his career with a 144-94 record and 3.76 ERA in 350 games, 332 of them starts. He won the Cy Young Award in 2005 when he was 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA, and he led the National League in ERA in 2009 at 2.24.

Carpenter was 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 playoff starts --the winningest pitcher in franchise history. He defeated Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies in the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series, then won two games in the World Series as the Cardinals knocked off Texas.

"We think back to his career and what an amazing one it was for the St. Louis Cardinals," Mozeliak said. "He did so many things; he was part of so many highlights. I think he really created a culture of higher expectations for this organization. For him to be a part of that, during that era, is something that made us all better. He will definitely be missed."

Roster moves

In other transactions Wednesday, the Cardinals announced that outfielders Oscar Taveras and Mike O'Neill and infielder Greg Garcia have been added to the 40-man roster.

Left-hander John Gast and outfielder Jermaine Curtis were removed from the 40-man roster, and shortstop Ryan Jackson was claimed on waivers by the Houston Astros.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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