Cardinals Lock Up Chris Carpenter Through 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: Starter Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals throws to first base against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 2-0. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

As if the Cardinals' resurgence in the standings wasn't enough excitement for one city, now there's this great news: ace Chris Carpenter is getting locked up through 2013. Joe Strauss (via StLouisToday.com):

Intent on transacting as much business as possible before dealing with Albert Pujols looming free agency, the Cardinals have reached agreement with 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter on a two-year contract extension worth about $21 million, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The club intends to announce the deal later this week after finalizing formalities associated with the deal. However, terms of the deal are in place and Carpenter last week passed a physical required for insurance.

Leaving aside the inherent risk involved in spending more than 37 cents on a pitcher -- any pitcher -- this deal looks fantastic for the Cardinals. They were already looking at a $15 million option for Carpenter's 2012 services, and their pennant chances wouldn't have looked real hot without him. So let's assume for the moment that they were going to give him that $15 million, regardless ... Now they've got him in 2013, too, for just $6 million!

Yes, that's a simplistic way of looking at the situation. No, Chris Carpenter's probably never going to win another Cy Young Award. But pay no attention to Carpenter's uninspiring (9-9) record. He's got a fine strikeout-to-walk ratio, he remains stingy with the gopher ball, and he currently ranks fourth in the National League in innings pitched. At $10.5 million per season for the next couple of seasons, Carpenter would rank as one of the game's top free-agent bargains ... if he'd become a free agent, which, fortunately for the Cardinals, he will not.

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