2017 N.L. Rookie of Year Finalist signs Six-Year deal worth $26 million
JUPITER, Fla., March 5, 2018 — The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have agreed to a six-year contract thru 2023 with infielder Paul DeJong that also includes club options for both 2024 and 2025. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We are committed to winning at the Major League level, through scouting and player development, and Paul is a great example of this,” said Cardinals’ Owner and Chief Executive Officer Bill DeWitt, Jr.
“Paul moved quickly through our minor leagues and he had a breakout season last year and has shown all the attributes we look for in a player.” stated Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “We are excited to know that Paul is someone we can build around, and we look forward to seeing him in a Cardinals uniform for years to come.”
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 games played among all Ardinals 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 int he three-game series (July 7-9) against the Mets, the most ever by a Cardinals palyer 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.