The St. Louis Cardinals made a commitment to their present and their future Wednesday, reaching agreement with second baseman Kolten Wong on a five-year contract extension.
The deal, reported to be valued at $25.5 million, takes Wong through the 2020 season and includes a club option for 2021. The option is valued at $12.5 million, with a $1 million buyout.
“Kolten provides an excellent example of our strategy to sign, develop and retain the best talent available,” Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a news release. “Kolten has had a nice start to his career and we look forward to having him be a key part of our future.”
Wong, 25, debuted with the Cardinals in 2013 after being their No. 1 draft choice in 2011 out of the University of Hawaii. Last season, the left-handed-hitting Wong batted .262 with 28 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs and 61 RBIs in a career-high 150 games. He also stole 15 bases, giving him 38 in his career.
We are pleased to have Kolten signed for the next five years. Kolten has already been a key part of several high-profile moments during his young career and we look forward to his continued growth and success as a member of this organization.
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said Wong is an integral part of the ballclub as it seeks to defend its NL Central championship of last season, when it won 100 games.
“We are pleased to have Kolten signed for the next five years,” Mozeliak said in a news release. “Kolten has already been a key part of several high-profile moments during his young career and we look forward to his continued growth and success as a member of this organization.”
Wong would have been eligible for arbitration in November for the first time.
Wong finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2014, and he was the Cardinals’ Organizational Player of the Year in 2013. His career batting average is .250 with 23 home runs and 103 RBIs in 295 games.
Wong’s three postseason home runs in the 2014 NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers were the most by a rookie second baseman in major-league history. He set a postseason record for total bases by a second baseman with 15 in the series.
Wong’s last nine postseason hits have been for extra bases.
Wong is a candidate to bat leadoff for the Cardinals this season, who in that case would likely opt to move Matt Carpenter into an RBI spot in the order. Carpenter walloped 28 home runs last season to lead the team as he served as the primary leadoff hitter.