The St. Louis Cardinals completed an agreement to keep first baseman Allen Craig in tow last week, but very well may have done much more than just that. The deal is a study in the obscure: both completely team and player friendly contract that helps both parties roughly equally. But to understand this, a grasp on the first base market, the financial position of the Cardinals and the club’s future forecast must be fully considered.
Understanding the first base market is essential to knowing how much of an exception the deal truly is. Craig, who will turn 29 in July, signed a 5-year extension that will carry through his 33rd birthday. First base is regularly one of the most lucrative in baseball, and upper tier contracts at the position are second to only top notch starting pitchers. To sample this, here is a breakdown of what each National League first baseman will take home this year (age – 2013 salary):
1. Adrian Gonzalez: 31 ($21M)
2. Ryan Howard: 33 ($...