ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Monday, the Cardinals announced they extended shortstop Paul DeJong’s contract, signing him to a six year deal with options for an additional two years.
After making his MLB debut on March 28 last season, the Illinois State product played his way into a role as the team's everyday shortstop. He eventually anchored the lineup as the number three hitter, leading the team in slugging percentage (.532) and home runs (25).
DeJong, drafted in the fourth round of 2015, was not arbitration eligible until after the 2020 season, and would not have been a free agent until 2023. The deal struck Monday means the Cardinals bought up all of DeJong's pre-arbitration and arbitration years, and have club options on two of his free agency years.
The extension provides financial security for DeJong (According to MLB.com, the six-year deal is for $26 million. The money for the option years has not been released) and cost control for the Cardinals.
The team has made extensions for young players something of an annual spring tradition. Last season, the Cardinals extended Stephen Piscotty on a six-year, $33 million deal just before the season opened. In 2016, the Kolten Wong netted a five-year, $25.5 million deal in spring camp.
Adam Wainwright and Allen Craig received five-year extensions during spring training in 2013, and Matt Carpenter signed a six-year one the year after.
DeJong, 24, figures to remain a middle of the order hitter for the Birds going forward, and could play shortstop or third base depending on roster construction.
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