3 extensions the Cardinals should have made instead of Tommy Edman's

The Tommy Edman contract extension has been marred slightly by his uncertain future in 2024. Should the Cardinals have inked someone else long-term?
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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Brendan Donovan

Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan are similar players, by and large. While Edman provides more defensive versatility and speed, Donovan has shown more offensive firepower and leadership capabilities. Both utility players are essential to the team's success both now and in the future.

Donovan placed third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2022, and he was the first-ever recipient of the Utility Gold Glove Award for the National League that year. He is primarily known for his ability to get on base offensively, but his power stroke has improved year after year in the majors. He is a prototypical modern leadoff hitter: high on-base percentage with a penchant for power.

In addition to his offensive skillset, Donovan has shown an ability to play first base, right field, left field, third base, second base, and even shortstop a time or two. While he isn't as supreme of a defender as Tommy Edman, the fact that he can fill in at multiple positions shows his value to this team.

Brendan Donovan had an internal brace put in his right elbow last August to repair a partially torn UCL. He was limited all spring, but he has since been let loose to start the season, and he has disappointed. The 27-year-old has a .313/.450/.531 for a 170 OPS+ after only 10 games. He has scored 7 times, walked 4 times, struck out 7 times, and has 6 RBIs so far. He has been an ideal leadoff hitter for a Cards' team that is off to a much better start than last year.

Donovan isn't a free agent until 2028, and his arbitration years start next offseason. The Cardinals could sign him to a fairly lengthy extension. Locking up Brendan Donovan for 5 years would have been a much better investment than Tommy Edman. A 5-year, $40-$50 million contract seems reasonable at this point, and I don't think many Cardinal fans would scoff at that price and length.