The St. Louis Cardinals and shortstop Paul DeJong agreed to a record-breaking 6-year, $26 Million contract extension on Friday. There are also two option years in 2024 and 2025 after the 6-years are up (most likely team options) and they could bring DeJong’s grand total of pay to $51.5 Million.
In his 2017 rookie season, Paul DeJong hit .285/.325/.532 with 25 home runs, 65 RBI, with a 121 OPS+ (100 is league average) and a St. Louis Cardinals’ team-best .532 slugging percentage in his 108 games at shortstop and finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting.
DeJong previously would not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2020 season came to a conclusion. From 2018 until then, he could have just been renewed for under $1 Million each year until becoming arbitration eligible. After becoming eligible for arbitration, DeJong would receive incremental raises throughout the process. It is very clear as to why he jumped at the opportunity of such a lucrative extension.
“Paul moved quickly through our minor leagues and he had a breakout season last year and has shown all the attributes we look for in a player.” St. Louis Cardinals’ president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. “We are excited to know that Paul is someone we can build around, and we look forward to seeing him in a Cardinals uniform for years to come.”
Paul DeJong now has signed the largest contract extension for a player with less than 1-year of Major League Baseball service time. The previous record was set by Tim Anderson’s 6-year, $25 million deal that Anderson signed with the Chicago White Sox in 2017.
The St. Louis Cardinals are desperately trying to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and are hoping that DeJong will anchor an infield consisting of Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Jose Martinez and Jedd Gyorko as they push for a Wild Card. St. Louis plays in a division that will likely be a two-horse race between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs. If St. Louis can bring its team together with the acquisition of Marcell Ozuna, it is possible that they could have one more playoff run before the magic runs out.
Paul DeJong now has a great deal of financial security and a guaranteed spot in St. Louis for at least the next 6-years and the Cardinals will now have a young, solid, cost-controlled shortstop. If DeJong proves himself to be a top of the line shortstop, the Cardinals will get a fantastic bargain, if he winds up not performing as expected, St. Louis might end up regretting this deal. Either way, the Cardinals have a shortstop to build around as they make one more push for the Postseason.