Carpenter, Cardinals agree to six-year deal

Infielder Matt Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals have committed to six or seven years more.

For the third consecutive spring, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed a core player to a long-term contract. As had been rumored in recent days, on Saturday, the Cardinals announced a six-year contract extension with All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter. Carpenter joins Allen Craig, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina among the team's star players who have signed recent contract extensions that run through 2017 or beyond.

The new deal will keep Carpenter in a Cardinals uniform through at least his age 33 season, 2019. Carpenter will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus, $1 million in 2014, and then salaries of $3.5 million, $6.25 million, $9.75 million, $13.5 million and $14.5 million. In 2020, the Cardinals will have an $18.5 million option on his services, with a $2 million buyout. He gets a $500,000 payment if traded from now through 2017 and $1 million if dealt during the remainder of the contract. Carpenter also gets a suite on road trips.

Carpenter would have been first-time arbitration eligible next season, so this deal covers his first two years of free agency, or third if the option is exercised.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that insures Matt will remain a Cardinal on a long-term basis," said Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. "He is an All-Star caliber player, and an integral part of the nucleus of this club which we feel can continue to contend for championships in 2014 and beyond."

Carpenter, 28, took over as the Cardinals regular second baseman and lead-off man last season, and in addition to being selected for the 2013 All-Star team by his peers, he was honored with the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award as voted on by National League managers and coaches and finished fourth in the N.L.'s Most Valuable Player voting. His .318 batting average ranked 5th among all National League players, while he led the majors in runs scored (126), hits (199), doubles (55) and multi-hit games (63). His 55 doubles were the most ever by a Cardinals second baseman and set the franchise record for a left-handed batter, breaking Stan Musial's mark of 53 in 1953.

"Matt has inserted himself as a leader in the Cardinals clubhouse with his dedication and work ethic serving as a fine example to everyone," stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/ General Manager John Mozeliak. "His commitment to switching to a new position last season (second base), resulting in an All-Star season and Silver Slugger Award, proved once again what kind of person and player that Matt is."

Carpenter hit .388 with runners in scoring position last season and his 69 RBI from the lead-off position were the most by a Cardinals #1 batter since Lou Brock had 76 in 1967. Of his league-best 199 hits, 112 came at home, establishing a Busch Stadium III single-season hits record.

Carpenter was a 13th round selection by St. Louis in the June 2009 free-agent draft out of Texas Christian University. The Prosper, Texas native climbed quickly through the Cardinals minor league system, making his Major League debut on June 4, 2011 at Wrigley Field. He batted .294 in 2012 over 114 games, showing his versatility by filling in at first, second and third base as well as the outfield.

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