Before their game against the Washington Nationals Friday, the Cardinals announced they had signed first basemen Allen Craig to a 5-year extension for $31 million. Craig’s annual salary will increase each year until 2017. The Cardinals have a team option on Craig for $13 million in 2018.
The 28-year-old Craig has been suprising people for a while now. After stints as a fourth outfielder and a right fielder, he’s found his home as the Cardinals’s everyday first basemen. In 2012, Craig hit .307, with 22 home runs, in 119 games. Fangraphs rated him good for 3.1 Wins Above Replacement.
“This is a deal that works well for both sides,” general manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post Dispatch*. “When you look at his career past, this gives him security that he hasn’t had to this point. And for us, it gives us protection for the middle of the lineup for a long time.”
Most people who followed the team thought that Craig was definitely the long-term first basemen for the Cardinals but today those assumptions were confirmed.
The Matt Adams’ situation with the team just got that much more complicated. He has long been in limbo with the organization. At first he was just kind of…there. Sitting behind Albert Pujols with really nowhere to go. After Albert Pujols departed to Los Angeles many saw Adams as being his replacement in a couple of years.
That was before the emergence of Allen Craig.
Now Adams finds himself in a battle for a bench spot. With the injury to Furcal creating an extra spot, along with Ronny Cedeno’s horrible Spring Training, Adams could find himself on the big-league club in 2013.
Adams has absolutely tore up AAA pitching, but only hit .244 in 27 games with Cardinals in 2012.
I still think Matt Adams will have a fantastic MLB career, but I question if that career will be with the Cardinals. He is not a bench player. He should be close to an everyday player and if the Cardinals can’t find suitable playing time for Adams, then they owe it to themselves and to Adams to try to trade him to a team that will provide him with the playing time he deserves.