St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak says the team could begin discussing a contract extension with Matt Carpenter during spring training, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Were the two sides to come to an agreement, it would likely be a fairly team-friendly deal that would lock Carpenter up through his arbitration years and possibly a year or two into free agency. Carpenter is still a pre-arb player and will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season. Typically, contracts signed that early undervalue the player a bit in exchange for financial security. For instance, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy signed a five year contract worth just over $10 million just two years into his career.
If Carpenter can build on his 2013 season, the Cardinals will certainly want to keep him in St. Louis long-term. He led the league in both hits (199) and doubles (55) last year while posting a .318/.392/.481 line. He can also fill a number of roles for the Cardinals as he has played corner outfield, second base, third base and first base. He is expected to take over at the hot corner in 2014 after David Freese was traded away.
For now, the Cardinals and Carpenter are likely to have initial talks on a deal, with nothing certain on the horizon. But even brief discussions could turn into something, and the right dollar amount could lock Carpenter in for a while. If anything, they could set up further negotiations a year or three down the line.