Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals will avoid his $15 million player option according to reports from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday night, settling on a two-year, $21 million deal that will carry Carpenter through his age-38 season. Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch has more details on the contract, which has been one of the questions dogging the Cardinals heading into a deeply uncertain offseason.
Carpenter's in the midst of a year marked by typically outstanding peripheral statistics and marred by the vagaries of traditional ones. His ERA of 3.75—just below the league average in this pitching-heavy year—is in spite of a strikeout-to-walk ratio significantly better than the one he carried in 2010, thanks to a striking batting average on balls in play. Because of that—and his poor run support and even poorer defense—his record is not 16-9, as it was a year ago, but 9-9, even after a late surge.
All the same Carpenter has already thrown 200 innings for the second consecutive season, an incredible feat for a pitcher who missed nearly all of 2007 and 2008 with career-threatening problems. As a Cardinal he's now 93-42 with a 3.10 ERA; the 93 wins rank him just outside the top 10 in Cardinals history. a mark he'd be able to reach with 16 wins over the next two seasons.