The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a six-year, $52 million extension with infielder Matt Carpenter that will secure him through his age-33 season, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 28-year-old will earn a $1.5 million signing bonus, and $1 million in 2014, $3.5 million in 2015, $6.25 million in 2016, $9.75 million in 2017, $13.5 million in 2018, and $15 million in 2019. In 2020, the team holds an $18.5 million option with a $2 million buyout, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
The deal allows the Cardinals to avoid the year-to-year fluctuations of the arbitration process with manageable salaries through 2017.
Carpenter broke out last season, finishing fourth in NL MVP balloting with a .318/.392/.481 batting line and 11 home runs. FanGraphs evaluated Carpenter as being worth seven wins above replacement.
He didn't debut in the majors until he was 25 years old -- in 2011 -- and he didn't accrue enough service time through 2013 to earn Super-Two status, meaning he would not have entered into arbitration until next winter. At an average annual value of less than $10 million, Carpenter's deal will likely earn praise from the baseball community.
The Cardinals plan to hold an introductory press conference to announce the deal today.