Ranking the 10 best contracts in recent St. Louis Cardinals history

Adam Wainwright # 50 and Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals bump gloves prior to the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 10, 2019 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC/Getty Images)
Adam Wainwright # 50 and Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals bump gloves prior to the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 10, 2019 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC/Getty Images) /
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Apr 13, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter (13) receives a curtain call from the fans after hitting a two run home run during the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Matt Carpenter (2014-2019)

Value: +$118.3 million

Despite there being a strong argument that Carpenter’s extension from 2020-2021 could be the worst contract in recent Cardinal history, his six-year, $52 million dollar extension from 2014 to 2019 was one of the best contracts in baseball.

Over the length of the deal, Carpenter put up a line of .258/.370/.460 with 131 home runs, 206 doubles, 407 RBI and 542 runs scored while finishing top 12 in MVP voting twice and adding on two All-Star appearances in separate seasons from his MVP surges.

His most famous run over the course of the deal was his 2018 season. On May 15th, Carpenter was hitting just .140 with three home runs and 13 RBIs, but after teammate Adam Wainwright got Carpenter into gardening and Matt began to make his special salsa, Carpenter went on an absolute tear. Carpenter would finish the year batting .257/.374/.523 with 36 home runs, 42 doubles, and 81 RBIs while finishing 9th in MVP voting.

Although this was Carpenter’s last great Cardinal season, it capped off an incredible run from a player that faced incredible adversity before cracking the big league roster in 2011. The fact that he played $118 million over his contract value during that stretch is insane. After a few years away from the club, fans will remember Carp more for his peak seasons, rather than the disappointing end to his time in St. Louis.

Next. The 5 most inspiring St. Louis Cardinals of the decade. dark

Bonus: If you want an emotional goodbye from Matt, check out this incredible open letter to St. Louis that he wrote in the Players Tribune.

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