Which outstanding 2024 Cardinals deserve an extension?

5 players in arbitration or pre-arbitration have shown themselves worthy of a contract extension soon. Who should get one?
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The Cardinals should lock up Brendan Donovan with an extension.

Brendan Donovan emerged as a clubhouse leader this offseason. After a year that featured a void of leaders among other issues, Donovan stepped up to become a voice in the clubhouse. Despite being only 27 and having played for just 2 years, the utility player became a leader amongst a group of veterans.

Along with his clubhouse strengths, Donovan has proven himself on the field. After a slow start this year, he's managed to turn it around quite well in the month of June. His .269/.355/.418 slash line on the year is a bit down compared to previous seasons, but his OPS+ of 114 is about in line with his career average. Offense is down across the league, but Donovan has been able to maintain his production. Donovan's on-base skills paired with a boost in power since his rookie year make him a very strong offensive player.

Donovan's Gold Glove defense also bodes well for his contract extension. He won the first-ever National League Utility Gold Glove Award in 2022, and he finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting that same year. He has filled in quite well in left field this year after the team faced a plethora of injuries to its expected outfield corps. He's been a plus defender (1 Out Above Average) in left, and he's also seen time at third base, second base, and right field this year.

Brendan Donovan is in his final year before arbitration, so he won't be a free agent until after the 2027 season. That's 3 more years of team control. It's getting to be time for the Cardinals to extend the left-handed utility man. Donovan has become a leader in the clubhouse, he's shown consistency across all 3 years on both sides of the ball, and he provides the manager with flexibility when making a lineup. I would love to see Donovan receive a contract for 5-6 years.