The St. Louis Cardinals lock down Kolten Wong with a multi-year contract
Shortly after a mysterious tweet from Mark Saxon this morning warned us of “big news” coming from the St. Louis Cardinals, Jon Mozeliak and Kolten Wong sat down for a press conference announcing an extension for the young second baseman.
The two parties have agreed to a guaranteed five year deal that will cover all of Wong’s arbitration years and buy out at least one of his free agent seasons. Additionally, there’s a club option for a sixth year. Assuming that it begins in 2017, the contract could potentially take the young second baseman through his age 31 season, although those details have yet to be released.
Just entering his age 25 season, Wong has established himself as a solid second baseman, and he still has a reasonable amount of room to grow before he hits his ceiling. In 2015, his second full season as the Cardinals’ primary second baseman, he posted a .262/.321/.386 line with 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases. While that might not seem like a phenomenal offensive season, his solid defense allowed him to accumulate over 2 fWAR, making him a slightly above average player.
Going forward, if he can improve his on-base skills, Wong could become a decidedly good player, and may even have a 20-20 season in his best year. While he likely isn’t going to win any MVP awards, he is the kind of player that a team needs to remain in contention.
While financial information hasn’t been released and will probably affect my opinion some, I have to think that this is likely a really good deal. Very rarely do the Cardinals overpay with their extensions, and given the rising cost of free agents, anything short of about $15 million/year will probably look like a steal at the end of it. I wouldn’t be shocked to see an average annual value closer to $10 million, though, and that would help remind all of us of why we like John Mozeliak after a rough off-season.
Given the lack of well rounded second base talent available in the league right now, St. Louis’ investment here makes a lot of sense and should ultimately benefit the Cardinals, although it does provide Kolten Wong guaranteed stability, which is something that young players frequently covet. All in all, this is probably a good move all around by a savvy club.
Stay tuned for updates as more details are released.