Chris Carpenter’s loyalty to Cardinals led to extension

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Yesterday the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter announced a two-year, $21 million contract extension that takes the place of a $15 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2012.

Even at age 35 he remains one of the best starters in the league and either through the $15 million option or free agency Carpenter likely could have gotten more than $21 million between 2012 and 2013.

However, during his press conference the former Cy Young winner explained that he never wanted to leave St. Louis and felt a strong sense of loyalty to the Cardinals for giving him an opportunity after injuries had derailed his career:

It’s about being a St. Louis Cardinal for the rest of my career. They have done a ton for me and my family. They’ve stuck with me through times when I’ve been hurt. … I wasn’t excited about jumping around to different organizations if I wanted to continue to play. My wife has been a huge support for me and I know it excites her to be able to stay here also.

It seems likely that the Cardinals would have exercised his $15 million option for 2012 had Carpenter balked at an extension, so he likely saved them $4.5 million for next season in addition to signing on for a reasonable $10.5 million salary in 2013.

That doesn’t qualify him for sainthood or anything–after all, Carpenter has already earned about $65 million during his career–but it’s always nice to see a player decide he’d rather have $21 million and stay where he’s enjoyed playing rather than go elsewhere for, say, $25 million. Too often those type of decisions seem driven by an amount of money that will have zero tangible impact on the player’s life.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.