ST. LOUIS ( -- Wednesday, the Cardinals announced a two-year contract extension with Matt Carpenter.

Carpenter, 33, is a three-time All-Star and has topped the Cardinal lineup for nearly his entire career.

His previous deal, a six-year, $52 million contract, ran through 2019 with an $18.5 million team option for 2020.

He will now be signed through 2021, with a vesting option for one year beyond that.

“I can’t put into words the gratitude I’m feeling right now,” Carpenter said at the press conference. “To potentially wear the same uniform, one that I admire and treasure, for an entire career is quite a thrill ... It’s an honor to put this jersey on.”

Carpenter was drafted in the 13th round in 2009 and made his debut in 2011. In 2012 he played nearly a full season in the majors, hitting .294 and finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting.

By 2013 he was cemented in the leadoff spot and began punishing opposing pitchers across the league.

That season he hit .318, and led the National League in hits (199), doubles (55) and runs (126).

He finished fourth in MVP and established a reputation as a tenacious hitter that was difficult to put away.

He’s since added to his arsenal, belting 28 homers in 2015, and not hitting less than 20 for four straight seasons. In 2018, he hit a career-high 36, and made history against the Cubs in June when he had five extra-base hits, including 3 home runs, in one game.

“Matt has made a career out of being far more than just batting average,” said GM Mike Girsch. “Whether it’s his patience or his power, I think he personifies the fact that there’s much more to an offensive profile than batting average.”

Carpenter has also been a defensive catch-all for the Cardinals, playing third base, second base, first base and outfield in various seasons. He has eagerly obliged team requests to learn new positions, as personnel requirements and injuries forced the organization to adapt.

Carpenter repeatedly said he did all this because he loves the Cardinals and their fanbase, and is chasing another World Series ring with the franchise.

“I’m extremely honored to be here,” he said. “I want to thank Mr. Dewitt, [John Mozeliak] and Mr. Girsch and my agent Brian for making this possible. Taking a chance on a fifth year senior out of TCU in 2009,” he said.

Carpenter joins All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (2020-24), All-Star pitcher Miles Mikolas (2020-23) and outfielder José Martínez (2019-20) among Cardinals who have signed multi-year contract extensions since February.

Matt Carpenter batting

St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter bats during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday, April 7, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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