5 free agents the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn’t bring back

Miranda Remaklus
John Mozeliak watches the spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
John Mozeliak watches the spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 6: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts to being called out on strikes in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium on September 6, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas /Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 6: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts to being called out on strikes in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium on September 6, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas /Getty Images) /

Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter has been a favorite for Cardinals fans for many seasons. At one point he was a dependable infielder with a bat you would want up in critical situations. He was clutch. He was good.

And then he wasn’t.

Carpenter just completed the final year of a two-year contract worth $39 million. The team is not expected to pick up the team option for 2022, opting to pay the $2 million buyout instead. This contract was an extension awarded after an amazing 2018 season for Carpenter.

You could tell that extension was a mistake in 2019 and unfortunately, it only got worse from there for the former All-Star infielder.

In 2018, Carpenter played third base and hit .257/.374/.523 with 42 doubles, 36 home runs, and 111 runs scored. Since that highest of highs, Carpenter has been left without a regular position with the acquisitions of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt and the rise of Tommy Edman.

Carpenter sank to the position of bench option in 2021 hitting .169/.305/.275 with a 70 wRC+ with 77 strikeouts, three homers, 21 RBIs,  one triple, 11 double, 20 singles, and 35 walks.

Carpenter, unfortunately, became a highly-priced bench option the team couldn’t even depend on because he was far from consistent, often looking frustrated at the plate and pouting at calls from umpires he didn’t agree with but were obviously correct.

Carpenter spent his entire career with St. Louis. He was a good player who had a dramatic decline. He is a fan favorite even with the overwhelming frustration. But even a fan will tell you it is time to move on from Matt Carpenter.

dark. Next. 5 free agents the St. Louis Cardinals should keep in 2022

Carpenter still wants to play baseball and while it’s clear he shouldn’t return to St. Louis, where he does land should be interesting.

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