By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com | @LangoschMLB |
JUPITER, Fla. -- With a commitment that came out of his desire to plant long-term roots in St. Louis, Kolten Wong agreed to a five-year contract extension that also includes a club option for a sixth year. The deal covers all three years of Wong's arbitration-eligible seasons, as well as at least one year of free agency. Wong, who debuted with the Cardinals in 2013, was slated to become arbitration-eligible after this season.
The Cardinals, who announced the extension at a Wednesday morning news conference, did not disclose financial terms of the deal.
"For them going and drafting me and giving me the chance to come up and, after what happened [in 2013], to still continue to believe in me, I wanted to show them I wanted to be there," Wong said. "I didn't want to see what I could go and do in free agency. I wanted to be a Cardinal. If there was any chance that I could do it, I told them, 'Let's try to get that done.'"
Wong had his agents approach the club about a potential extension about a month and a half ago. The Cardinals, who have made it a priority to extend players whom they believe will be a part of the team's future core, agreed that the time was right.
"When you think about all the things we deal with on the free-agent market and sometimes on the trade market, having someone who has a desire to want to be a part of the Cardinals and remain here is something that is very important to [owner Bill] DeWitt [Jr.] and myself," general manager John Mozeliak said. "He is added to a list of a lot of other players that have made that commitment to this organization."
The Cardinals have hosted these sorts of news conferences regularly in Spring Training. Wong agreed to his extension at about the same point in his career as Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig when they agreed to long-term deals. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molinaalso signed their most recent contract extensions during the spring.
Wong, a first-round pick in the 2011 Draft, has been the team's everyday second baseman for the past two seasons. He has a career slash line of .250/.303/.374 and has shown flashes of power and speed that the organization believes can become more prominent features of his game.
"To me, I don't believe he's begun to tap into what kind of player he can be," manager Mike Matheny said. "We're still figuring that out. But you see all the pieces in place for this to be the kind of player that makes a big impact on this organization. I'm excited to watch how this continues to grow."