Cardinals Rumors: Contract extension predictions for 2 key players

Tim Britton of the Athletic gave extension projections for Paul Goldschmidt and Lars Nootbaar.
Sep 11, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) and
Sep 11, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) and / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Tim Britton is considered one of the gurus of contract extensions. Using past extensions for similar players and accounting for inflation, Britton is able to make assumptions for certain extensions for certain players. He broke down these conversations into 4 different buckets (each individual article is linked, subscription required): pending free agents, pitchers in arbitration, batters in arbitration, and players who haven't yet reached arbitration.

Britton goes into fantastic detail on each player, as he analyzed about 50 of them as a whole. He states in his initial piece that these are not signings that are likely to happen. Rather, he is simply giving a potential contract.

Two St. Louis Cardinals players made Tim Britton's list: first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Lars Nootbaar. I will not provide Britton's commentary on either player, as I encourage you to go read his piece. Instead, I will provide his projections and give my own thoughts on them.

Paul Goldschmidt
Projection: 4 years, $97 million

Paul Goldschmidt is entering his age-36 season, and he will turn 37 in early September. This contract projection by Britton includes a restructuring of this year's contract, so he will be signed for his age-37 through age-39 seasons with this extension. The average annual value (AAV) of his contract is close to $25 million, a bit of a jump from his $22 million salary this year.

Goldschmidt is a Hall of Famer, especially after his 2022 campaign. The concern here, however, is that players typically regress at a 0.5 fWAR rate per season after turning a certain age. Goldy accumulated 3.7 fWAR last year. That means he will rack up 3.2 fWAR the first year, 2.7 fWAR the second year, 2.2 fWAR the third year, and 1.7 fWAR in the final year according to this trend.

Goldy could buck this trend and turn back the clock, but it is likely he won't reach the heights he did again during his peak years. You are paying Paul Goldschmidt to retire a Cardinal with this contract regardless of the cost. The price per win above replacement is a bit high with this extension, but given what Goldschmidt has provided since he was brought to the Cardinals in 2019, he is worthy of this. It is pricey, but to see a legend retire in Cardinal Red would be celebrated by fans.