Cardinals reward manager Mike Matheny with extension
Veteran pitcher Chris Carpenter retiring
The St. Louis Cardinals gave manager Mike Matheny a three-year contract extension Wednesday, rewarding him for deep postseason runs in his first two seasons in the job.
The team also said that 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter is retiring after missing this season with a recurring nerve issue in his shoulder.
Matheny led the Cardinals to the World Series this year, losing in six games to Boston. In 2012, his first season managing at any level, St. Louis fell one game shy of reaching the Fall Classic. The 43-year-old Matheny was a four-time Gold Glove catcher with St. Louis and had one year left on his deal.
"We didn't want any distractions, we knew we wanted Mike to be a part of this organization for a long time," general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday. "So we might as well deal with it and get it behind us.
"Obviously, with the success he's had he deserves this contract," Mozeliak added.
We didn't want any distractions, we knew we wanted Mike to be a part of this organization for a long time...Obviously, with the success he's had he deserves this contract.- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak
DeWitt characterized Matheny's first two seasons as "pretty historic." Matheny called it "amazing ride."
"You look at how everything's kind of unfolded and you just never know," the manager added. "Opportunities come up and fortunately I've been surrounded by some very, very good people."
Mozeliak said the team hoped to "identify a future role" in the organization for the 38-year-old Carpenter.
"When you think back to everything this organization has been through in regard to his ups and downs, he will still go down as one of the greatest we've ever had," Mozeliak said.
Carpenter went 95-44 with a 3.07 ERA in nine seasons in St. Louis despite making only seven starts combined between 2007-08 and 2012. His began his career in 1997 with Toronto, signing with the Cardinals after the 2002 season. He missed all of 2003 with an injury and was 144-94 overall.
NL comeback player of the year
"We think back to his career and what an amazing one it was," Mozeliak said. "He was part of so many highlights and I think he really created a culture of higher expectations."
Carpenter won 21 games in 2005 and led the league in ERA in 2009, the same year he was named the NL comeback player of the year — after having Tommy John surgery. He's the franchise career leader with 10 postseason victories, the most memorable is his 1-0 win over the Phillies and Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NL division series in 2011.
"Chris will always be remembered as the leader of the pitching staff during one of the great eras of Cardinals baseball," chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
The Cardinals also purchased the contract of outfielders Oscar Taveras and Mike O'Neill, and infielder Greg Garcia. St. Louis has 36 players on the 40-man roster.
Taveras is the franchise's top prospect and is coming off right ankle surgery after batting .306 in just 46 games at Triple-A Memphis. O'Neill hit .320 in 98 games at Double-A Springfield and finished the year at Memphis where he batted .295, and the versatile Garcia batted .271 at Memphis and played second base, third base and shortstop.
The Cardinals took left-hander John Gast, outfielder Jermaine Curtis and shortstop Ryan Jackson off the 40-man roster. Gast and Curtis were outrighted to Memphis and Jackson was claimed by the Houston Astros. Mozeliak called it a roster "clean up" prior to the winter Rule 5 draft.
The team is seeking a replacement for Bengie Molina, an assistant hitting coach this year who last week was hired as the Texas Rangers' first base coach and catching instructor.