Cards strengthen future with Berkman extension

Cards strengthen future with Berkman extension

ST. LOUIS -- There was a buzz at Busch Stadium on Thursday morning as the news broke that the Cardinals had signed outfielder Lance Berkman to a one-year extension for the 2012 season.

"It's a very good day," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's a very good day for next year. We're concentrating on today and this year."

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, who signed a two-year extension earlier this month, was pleased to hear the news.

"That's exciting, obviously," Carpenter said. "He's been a big part of this club this year and I'm glad it could get done."

The Berkman extension continued a recent trend of the Cardinals positioning themselves for 2012, and in some cases, beyond.

"Obviously I can speak for myself, I'm excited for me being able to get done and being able to come back," Carpenter said. "There are key parts to this ballclub that need to be back and Lance was one of them and I'm excited about that."

Right-hander Adam Wainwright echoed Carpenter's sentiments.

"If you look at the core of the team, we're going to be very dangerous next year," Wainwright said. "The key again is going to be everybody staying healthy, and whether No. 5 [Albert Pujols] is going to be back. Hopefully we he will be. We've got some good players to surround him with. Should he come back, we're going to be incredibly tough. Got to stay healthy. Got to keep the Clydesdales in the starting rotation healthy."

The Cardinals intend to pick up the two-year option on the contract of Wainwright, who missed this season after suffering an arm injury Spring Training. That deal, along with contract extensions for Carpenter and lefty Jaime Garcia, help solidify St. Louis's rotation going forward.

Those kinds of deals made it easier for Berkman to sign on for 2012.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to look at the situation here and know that there are four or five things that need addressing," Berkman said. "Albert. I think [Yadier Molina's] got an option. Carp's already been addressed. Wainwright had an option that was addressed. So there were a lot of things going on that the organization had to deal with. I think after looking at that situation and analyzing, all right, if I really do want to be here, what is something that I can offer the Cardinals that would make it attractive to them for me to stay?"