4 young Cardinals who should receive contract extensions this offseason

Teams like the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres are notorious for extending contracts to young players so they are locked up for the near future. Which players for the Cardinals could see long-term contracts?
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Brendan Donovan

Brendan Donovan was never a top-rated prospect in the Cardinals' system. However, he has done the most with the time he's been given. A former 7th-round pick, Donovan made his MLB debut last year in late April. Since then, he has done nothing but provide positional flexibility with a solid offensive profile. In 2022, Donovan was known primarily for his crazy on-base percentage. This year, he has added some power to his offense. Donovan's triple slash for his career is .283/.381/.398 for an OPS+ of 121. He has played all positions in the field except center and catcher.

Donovan is not arbitration-eligible until 2026, so he has 5 years of team control remaining. Therefore, Donovan's contract would be heavy on the years, but a bit lighter on the money. Donovan has accrued 6.1 fWAR already in just two years; Donovan's extension would probably look similar to the extension given to Michael Harris II. Harris signed an 8-year, $72 million contract with an AAV of $9 million. Harris plays center field, a superior defensive position. Also, Harris's stats are slightly better than Donovan's.

Based on Harris's contract, we can roughly predict a contract for Donovan. Given Donovan's positional flexibility and solid offensive profile, he should expect to see an AAV just shy of $9 million. The length of his contract should be similar, as the Cardinals would want to extend Donovan into his free agency period. Still only 26 years old, the Cardinals would love to lock up Donovan for his prime years.

Prediction: 7 years, $56 million