JUPITER, Fla. -- They lined the back of the makeshift news conference room Saturday -- Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday -- watching and welcoming another into their core.
With his six-year extension now finalized, Matt Carpenter joins those four as the pillar around which the Cardinals intend to build. It is all a part of the vision set forward by principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr., who has prioritized building this Major League club through drafting, developing and then locking down the best before free agency.
"We hope that he is with the Cardinals much longer than the six years guaranteed," De Witt said of Carpenter. "He's the type of player that you would like to think could finish his career as a Cardinal, much like the gang in the back of the room there. He's an All-Star caliber player, part of a nucleus that we believe will contend for championships not just this year, but for years to come."
Molina signed his extension during Spring Training in 2012. Last spring, Wainwright and Craig got theirs. The Cardinals then started working toward this one with Carpenter in August.
"Obviously, when you think about these types of deals, it's really about trying to find the right players that we want to make part of this long term," added general manager John Mozeliak. "Matt Carpenter obviously accomplished a lot over the last couple of years. He really stood out as a young leader in this organization and someone we felt we wanted to try to find a way to sign long term."
Carpenter's deal runs longer than those for the other four, though the Cardinals, if they choose to exercise Holliday's option, could have keep all five together for at least the next four seasons.
"I'm extremely honored to be part of this long term," Carpenter said. "My teammates that are here supporting me -- Adam, Matt, Yadi and Allen -- just to be a part of the core group of guys that we have here in something special. This was a no-brainer for me going through this. We have a really special group of guys that are in that clubhouse and it's a lot of fun to be a part of."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.