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Cardinals sign Allen Craig to five-year contract extension

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

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Allen Craig is going to remain a Cardinal for a long time. (Getty Images)

The Cardinals and 1B/OF Allen Craig have agreed to a five-year contract extension, the team announced Friday.

According to the AP, Craig will receive $1.75 million this year, $2.75 million for 2014, $5.5 million for 2015, $9 million for 2016 and $11 million in 2017, the final guaranteed year of the deal. The Cardinals also have a $13 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout. If exercised, the option would bring the total value of Craig's contract to $43 million.

The 28-year-old right-handed slugger owns a major-league batting line of .300/.348/.515 with 37 homers and 57 doubles in 857 plate appearances over three seasons. That's backed up by a career minor-league OPS of .888. In other words, Craig can hit.

Craig enters the 2013 season with just more than two years of major-league service time, so a five-year pact will in essence buy out his final pre-arb season, all of his arbitration years and one free-agent year. If the Cardinals exercise their option for 2018, then that will come to two free-agent years.

Craig will be the Cardinals' starting first baseman this season.

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