How the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter is beating the shift
The St. Louis Cardinals announced Wednesday they have signed All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter to a two-year contract extension that includes a vesting option for 2022.
Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports the deal is worth $39 million and will vest for a third season if Carpenter reaches 1,100 plate appearances.
Carpenter, 33, could have been a free agent at the end of this season if the Cardinals opted to not exercise its $18.5 million option. If the third-year option of the new contract is triggered, he’ll be 36 and a career Cardinal by the time the contract comes to term.
That presumably buys the Redbirds time to develop last year’s first-round pick, Nolan Gorman, an 18-year-old third baseman who has batted .302 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs in just 70 minor league games. Drafted out of O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Gorman currently is batting .393 with two home runs in class A Peoria.
Carpenter, drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round in 2009 out of Texas Christian University and has since started at several positions on the infield. With the offseason trade for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Carpenter was moved back to third base.
“Matt has been a consistent contributor to our team since his rookie season and he has worked hard to become one of the best players in the game today,” stated Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. “We are pleased to have Matt under contract, along with many of our other core players, for the next several years.”
Carpenter has compiled a .273 career batting mark with 134 home runs, 585 walks and a .376 on-base pct. in 1,031 career games; twice finished among the top-10 in National League MVP voting (2013 and 2018); and was named an All-Star in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Additionally, Carpenter was voted the recipient of the N.L. Silver Slugger award at second base in 2013 when he set the club single-season record for doubles (55) by a left-handed batter and also posted league highs for hits (199) and runs scored (126).
“Carp has been a great player and someone who has always put team first,” said Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “He grew up in a baseball family, has worked tirelessly to advance his skills and knowledge of the game, and he thrives at being a catalyst for our team. We are extremely pleased to announce that Matt will remain a Cardinal beyond the 2019 season.”
Overall, Carpenter has established the Cardinals franchise records for career (23) and single-season (8) lead-off homers and has compiled the top career on-base pct. (.388) among active lead-off hitters. Since 2013, Carpenter leads the majors with his 245 doubles and he is one of just three active players — including Goldschmidt — with more than 600 runs scored.