St. Louis Cardinals shortstop, Paul DeJong, signed a six-year deal on Monday. Is this a wise move?
Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals‘ break-out shortstop, signed a six-year extension worth $26 million. It also includes club options for 2024 and 2025 that could bring the deal to approximately $50 million. According to Bob Nightengale, it is the largest deal ever signed by a player with less than one year of service.
The St. Louis Cardinals are known for locking up their young talent with seemingly team-friendly contracts, doing so with Allen Craig in 2013, Matt Carpenter in 2014, Kolten Wong in 2016, and Stephen Piscotty last season.
Two of those contracts have paid off. Two are no longer with the team. This doesn’t mean the contracts were bad deals – a team-friendly contract is very appealing to a potential trade partner. But, they can also cost a team. So, let’s take a look at DeJong’s deal and if it makes sense.
DeJong had a great rookie season in 2017. He hit .285 with 25 home runs and 65 RBI in just 108 games, finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Some may look at those numbers and say, “Lock him up now!” Some may say, “Let’s see him do it for another year or two…” I think you can make an argument either way. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
St. Louis Cardinals fans have a great, and recent, example that shows you should wait for sustained success – Aledmys Diaz. The shortstop had a phenomenal rookie year, hitting .300 with 17 home runs and 65 RBI in 111 games in 2016. His second year with the club didn’t go as well… He was sent down and is now with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hey, I think DeJong is a good player and I expect him to have another good year. I think he will hit about .260 with 25-30 home runs and 70-80 RBI. If he can increase his walk percentage, his value offensively will be enormous.
But, why not see him do it for another year or two? It’s not like he’s going anywhere. He wasn’t even arbitration-eligible yet. Let this season play out. If he has another good year, try to sign him next off-season. But, herein lies the reason to sign him…
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If a player, AKA Paul DeJong, were to have another great season, he may be less inclined to sign a team-friendly/”cheap” deal. Let’s say he hits .285 again. His 25 home runs in 108 games turn into 35 over the course of a full season. He drives in about 100 runs. Makes the All-Star team. That’s two really good years in a row. He’s now starting to establish himself as a premier shortstop. Now, the St. Louis Cardinals come at him with the six-year, $26 million extension. He says no way, Jose. I’ll go to arbitration the next couple of years, keep having big years, and sign a mega-deal in free-agency.
So, in my opinion, the Cardinals are incredibly smart in signing young talent to these deals. It is a way to lock these guys up for pretty cheap. Even if DeJong is only worth two or three WAR for the next six seasons, the contract still looks great. It’s also very appealing to a potential trade partner down the road, if that were to ever be the case.
Congrats to Paul DeJong and the St. Louis Cardinals. I think this is a good deal. What do you guys think? Is it a good sign or should we have waited another year? Let me know. Thanks for reading.