St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong

(Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals Sign Shortstop Paul DeJong To 6-Year Extension

March 05, 2018 - 8:32 am
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JUPITER, Fla. (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals announced in a press conference, Monday, they have finalized a six-year deal with shortstop Paul DeJong. The deal, reportedly worth $26 million, is the largest contract in baseball history for a player with less than one year of MLB service. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed by the club.

Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch, chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny were present when the announcement was made: 

DeJong's deal will run through the 2023 season and includes club options for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. He was asked is last year, he ever thought about signing a contract extension with St. Louis. 

"I was really thinking really anything about that," DeJong says. "Obviously the Cardinals is a first-class organization and I want to spend my whole career here, so for me this just makes sense for both parties and now I can go out there and just play."

Some of his Cardinals teammates have already congratulated him: 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold, USA Today and MLB Network were first to report the deal with was worth $26 million. 

DeJong, 24, burst on to the Major League scene last season, hitting a home run in his first big league at-bat on May 28 at Colorado (9th Cardinal to ever do so) and he went on to hit a team-leading 25 round-trippers, becoming the first rookie since Albert Pujols (37 in 2001) to lead the club in homers.

After hitting 13 home runs in 48 games with Memphis (AAA) to begin the season, DeJong added a .285 batting mark with 25 HR’s, 65 RBI and a team-best .532 slugging pct. in his 108 games with St. Louis.   As a result, he finished 2nd in National League Rookie of the Year balloting to the Dodgers Cody Bellinger, the highest finish ever by a Cardinals shortstop.

DeJong, drafted by the Cardinals in 2015 (4th round) out of Illinois State University, ranks 2nd to Pujols in home runs (26 to 25) and extra base hits (54 to 52) in first 108 career games played among all Cardinals and his 20 home runs as a shortstop in 2017 tied Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. for 8th all-time among rookie shortstops.

The former Collegiate Academic All-American was voted the National League’s Rookie of the Month for July,  when he led all rookies with eight home runs and 28 hits while batting .298 with eight doubles and a .638 slugging pct.   His eight home runs set the Cardinals rookie record for the month of July.

DeJong made history on July 8, 2017 vs. the New York Mets when he collected four extra base hits (HR & three 2B’s), becoming the Cardinals first-ever shortstop and 8th-place hitter to have four extra base hits in a single game.   He was also the first Cardinals rookie since Terry Moore (Aug. 28, 1935) to have four long hits in one contest.  DeJong finished with eight extra base hits in the three-game series (July 7-9) against the Mets, the most ever by a Cardinals player during a three-game series in the modern era (post 1900).

DeJong appeared at 88 games at shortstop and 20 games at second base in 2017.