The Cardinals and third baseman Matt Carpenter are currently discussing a long-term contract extension, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. GM John Mozeliak confirmed he has reached out to Carpenter's agent but declined to elaborate on the talks.
Carpenter, 28, hit .318/.392/.481 (143 OPS+) with 11 home runs last season. He led baseball in hits (199), runs (126) and doubles (55). That performance earned him his first All-Star Game berth and a fourth place finish in the NL MVP voting. Earlier this spring, he said he "would be grateful" to receive an extension.
After seamlessly shifting to second base last season, Carpenter will move back to his natural third base this summer to replace the departed David Freese. His career arch is unique in that he has changed positions (twice, really) and did not stick in MLB until his age 27 season.
Carpenter will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next year and he will not qualify for free agency until after the 2018 season, when he will be 32 years old. There is no real urgency for the team to get a deal done right now, but the sooner they do it, the more they will potentially save.
The five-year, $31 million extension the Cardinals gave Allen Craig last March could serve as framework for a deal with Carpenter. Not only had Craig put up big numbers at the plate, but he was also the same age as Carpenter at the time of the deal and had similarly changed positions.