Perhaps it is Chris Carpenter's way of helping first baseman Albert Pujols remain with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The ace pitcher and former Toronto Blue Jays right-hander has agreed on a two-year contract extension that will be announced later this week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday.
The new pact is worth $21 million US, a good deal for the Cardinals considering they held a $15 million option for Carpenter next season that may have been difficult to exercise if the club re-signed slugger Pujols, a potential free agent who could command as much as $250 million over 10 years.
Carpenter, who is said to have passed a physical last week in order to complete the deal, is enjoying a third consecutive healthy season and entered Sunday’s action fourth among National League pitchers with 206 1/3 innings pitched.
Carpenter joined the Cardinals in December 2002 after the Blue Jays removed him from their 40-man roster following surgery to repair a torn labrum. He later underwent another shoulder operation while elbow and nerve disorders disrupted his 2004, 2007 and 2008 seasons.
In six seasons with St. Louis in which he has made at least 28 starts, Carpenter has a 93-40 record and 3.09 earned-run average in 1,279 innings.
He won the Cy Young Award as the NL’s top pitcher in 2005 and has turned around a dreadful start to this season.
Inconsistency combined with a lack of run and defensive support saw Carpenter post a 1-7 mark in his first eight decisions, but he’ll enter Tuesday’s start against Pittsburgh at 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA over 30 starts — tied with Jake Westbrook for the team lead.
Carpenter is tops among Cardinals pitchers with 164 strikeouts in 2011 while his 14 home runs allowed are the fewest among those with at least 17 starts.