The Cardinals put their trust in Allen Craig as the first baseman … slash outfielder … for the foreseeable future with a five-year agreement that could reach $43 million over six seasons.
Color me shocked! Seriously. I would have never expected this long a deal. Zero complaints. I remember the 2011 World Series and how big he was throughout the playoffs. And it just carried over to the 2012 season. He was just a consistently GOOD player. And that should be rewarded. And it was. Handsomely. What a great deal for an awesome guy and player!
Here’s a little something from the Post-Dispatch about Craig’s deal.
Allen Craig, coming off a breakout season with the St. Louis Cardinals, agreed Friday to a $31 million, five-year contract that could be worth $43 million over six seasons.
Craig gets $1.75 million this year, $2.75 million in 2014, $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. The Cardinals have a $13 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.
The 28-year-old Craig would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2016 World Series.
He has 150 RBIs in 238 big league games and was sixth in the NL last season with a .307 average. He had 22 home runs and 92 RBIs despite not playing his first game until May 1 following offseason surgery on his right knee.
Craig is a career .300 hitter and became the Cardinals’ primary first baseman last year after Lance Berkman got hurt. Craig also made 30 starts in the outfield.
“I think he’s proven he’s the type of player that, when he’s in the lineup, can make an impact,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
Craig led the major leagues with a .400 average with runners in scoring position last season and has hit .374 the last two seasons, second in the majors behind the Reds’ Joey Votto.
Craig also had a big postseason for the Cardinals’ championship team in 2011 while playing with the knee injury, hitting three homers in the World Series and making a leaping catch at the left-field wall to rob the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz of a homer in Game 7. He had three go-ahead RBIs in the Series against Texas to tie a major league redord held by Kiki Cuyler (1925) and Hank Greenberg (1945), including an eighth-inning drive that fueled the first of two comebacks in a 10-9, 11-inning Game 6 victory.
Here’s a little something from Cardinals.com:
“I’m excited for him,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I’m excited for all our guys when they get the opportunity to move forward and be acknowledged for what they’ve accomplished and for what we foresee them doing in the future.”
“I just think it made sense for both sides and that’s how an agreement is made,” Craig said. “It was something where I wanted security for my family and the team thought it was a good idea, too, so it’s a tremendous opportunity, and I’m incredibly humbled by it. It’s something I can’t really fathom at this moment, but I’m just excited to be a part of this team going forward.”
Though Craig was already guaranteed to be under team control through 2016, the Cardinals gain financial security by locking in his yearly salaries now. Craig’s salary would have started to escalate quickly next winter when he began the arbitration process.
According to the Associated Press, this contract has Craig in line to earn $31 million over the next five seasons. The club option, as reported by the AP, is worth $13 million with a $1 million buyout.
“I do think it was a deal that worked well for both sides,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “We look at his career path and it certainly gives him some security that he hadn’t had up until this point. He wasn’t an extremely high Draft pick where he had a high signing bonus. This, for him, is a very big deal. For us, it gives us some protection in the middle of the lineup for a long time.”
So what do you think about this deal? Please comment below!