Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports Images

The St. Louis Cardinals have locked up the services of second baseman Kolten Wong for the next five years.

The St. Louis Cardinals have locked up the services of second baseman Kolten Wong for the next five years.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this morning that they have reached agreement with second baseman Kolten Wong on a five-year contract (2016-2020) that also includes a club option for the 2021 season.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Kolten provides an excellent example of our strategy to sign, develop and retain the best talent available,” said Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr.  “Kolten has had a nice start to his career and we look forward to having him be a key part of our future.”

“We are pleased to have Kolten signed for the next five years,” stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak.  “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, 25, was the Cardinals 1st round draft choice in 2011 out of the University of Hawaii and made his Major League debut just two years later in 2013 as a member of the Cardinals National League Championship team.

The left-handed hitting Wong finished third in 2014 N.L. Rookie of the Year voting and he was the Cardinals Organizational Player of the Year in 2013.  In 295 career games, Wong has posted a .250 batting average with 23 home runs, 103 RBI and 38 stolen bases.

In 2014, Wong’s three postseason home runs, including a walk-off shot against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the N.L. Championship Series, were the most by a rookie second baseman in M.L. history.  Wong holds the Cardinals single-series postseason record for total bases by a second baseman (15 in 2014 NLCS) and each of his last nine postseason hits have gone for extra bases, tying Miguel Cabrera and Jayson Werth for the M.L. record.

 

Steve Mitchell / USA TODAY Sports Images
After hitting 12 home runs in 2014 and 11 last season, Wong became the first Cardinals second baseman since Frankie Frisch (1927-28) to compile back-to-back seasons with 10 or more home runs.  Wong ranked 3rd among N.L. second basemen in homers last season and 4th in RBI (61), while leading the majors second basemen with 312 putouts.  His 31 defensive gems over the past two seasons are tops on the Cardinals and he led the team last season with 19 defensive highlight plays.

Wong led the Cardinals with 25 two-out RBI last season and hit 5 of his 11 home runs with two outs.  He also led the team in hit by pitch (15) and finished 2nd in stolen bases (15). His team-high 20 stolen bases in 2014 were the most by a Cardinals player (Cesar Izturis, 24) since 2008.

Brian Walton’s take

Two things are obvious to me by this action. First, Wong is being considered a future core player on the Cardinals. Second is that the organization continues to use spring training as a time to secure these kinds of commitments to cover young players’ arbitration-eligible years.

Wong’s deal guarantees him $25.5 million over the five years of 2016 through 2020. The contract also includes a $12.5 million option (or $1M buyout) for the 2021 season, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Wong did not receive no-trade protection, per Mark Saxon of ESPN.

This is a positive move by the Cardinals as it potentially extends their control over Wong’s services into his first two free agent years and creates cost certainty for the organization. Wong’s arrival in 2014 has brought long-term stability to a position that had a series of Opening Day starters over the prior decade that included Daniel Descalso (2012-13), Skip Schumaker (2009-11) and Adam Kennedy (2007-08).

Springs have been busy for the Cardinals in negotiating player contract extensions. In fact, Wong’s deal makes five five- or six-year contracts announced by the club in March over the last five years.

On March 8, 2014, Matt Carpenter inked a six-year deal worth $52 million. In March 2013, Allen Craig received a five-year, $31 million commitment. In addition, in January 2015, Lance Lynn signed a three-year, $22 million contract. Other current Cardinals who could be in this core contract extension group in the near future include Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal.

Cardinals veterans whose extensions were announced during recent spring trainings include Yadier Molina (five years, $75 million in March 2012) and Adam Wainwright (five years, $97.5 million in March 2013).

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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