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Cardinals renew Pham's contract for 2018

OF declined two-year offer this past offseason, will reportedly earn $570,000 this season
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

JUPITER, Fla. -- Hours after the Cardinals announced a contract extension with Paul DeJong that could keep the shortstop under team control through 2025, Tommy Pham expressed frustration about an extension offer from the club he said he recently declined.

During negotiations to set his 2018 salary, Pham said the Cardinals offered their star center fielder a two-year contract.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Hours after the Cardinals announced a contract extension with Paul DeJong that could keep the shortstop under team control through 2025, Tommy Pham expressed frustration about an extension offer from the club he said he recently declined.

During negotiations to set his 2018 salary, Pham said the Cardinals offered their star center fielder a two-year contract.

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"It just wasn't strong enough," Pham said of the offer, which widened a divide between him and the club and resulted in St. Louis renewing his contract for the 2018 season. "I won't sell myself short."

Pham will earn $570,000 this season, according to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Clubs have to renegotiate one-year deals for all their unsigned arbitration-eligible players every offseason. They hold the right to impose salaries or negotiate adjustments, and they often do the latter, agreeing to slight increases after negotiations during which they hold all the leverage.

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If the player and team can't come together, the club can renew the player for its preferred price.

The Cardinals announced Pham's renewal Monday. Team officials declined to comment.

Pham, who turns 30 on Thursday, earned the Major League minimum during the 2017 campaign, when he broke out to become the Cardinals' best offensive player, hitting .306/.411/.520 with 23 home runs and 25 steals in his first full big league season.

"You can say what you want about me, but this is a business," Pham said. "This is an industry based off production. My production always said I belonged in the big leagues. I don't care what anyone said, the numbers backed it up. I was one of three players that had that season."

By "that season," Pham is talking about a year in which he was one of three players in the Majors to post a slash line of at least .300/.400/.500 with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. The others were American League Most Valuable Player Award winner Jose Altuve and two-time AL MVP Award winner Mike Trout. Pham is the only player in Cardinals history to reach all of those plateaus in a single season.

Video: Outlook: Pham primed for another strong season

Pham will be arbitration-eligible next offseason for the first time in his career.

"I missed arbitration, not by many days," said Pham, who played 25 games at Triple-A Memphis before returning to the Majors for good last May. "I was down [in the Minors] for a long time last year, playing well. I was sitting down, with good numbers. In fact, I told [the Cardinals]: 'I don't know many guys who had my numbers and were playing in Triple-A.'"

Renewals are rare across the sport, but particularly for the Cardinals. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, Mets starter Jacob deGrom, Astros starter Gerrit Cole (then with the Pirates) and Trout are examples of players whose contracts have been renewed over the past few years.

Pham was the club's lone pre-arbitration-eligible player not to agree to a new contract for the 2018 season.

St. Louis signed 24 others to one-year deals, meaning the club now has every player on its Major League roster under contract for 2018. The full list of players to sign contracts: Matt Bowman, John Brebbia, Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Austin Gomber, Derian Gonzalez, Conner Greene, Dominic Leone, Josh Lucas, Mike Mayers, Alex Reyes, Ryan Sherriff, Sam Tuivailala, Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Greg Garcia, Jose Martinez, Yairo Munoz, Edmundo Sosa, Breyvic Valera, Luke Voit, Harrison Bader, Oscar Mercado and Tyler O'Neill.

Injury update
Matt Carpenter (back) participated in baseball activities Monday for the first time this spring, running, throwing and stretching with the team prior to its 2-1 win over the Nationals. He did not take on-field batting practice.

Since last week, Carpenter had been doing rotational work with the team trainers to simulate swinging. Real swings could come as early as Tuesday, manager Mike Matheny said.

"I'm hopeful," Matheny said. "This is a good sign."

Video: Outlook: Carpenter has solid pop, is on-base machine

St. Louis' projected Opening Day first baseman has been sidelined since suffering back tightness prior to the club's first official full-squad workout. It's the second consecutive spring with back issues for Carpenter, who skipped last year's World Baseball Classic due to similar discomfort. Carpenter also has a history of oblique injuries. He's the club's only projected regular yet to see Grapefruit League action.

No player has appeared in more games for the Cardinals over the past five seasons than Carpenter, who Matheny penciled into the No. 3 slot in the lineup on the first day of camp.

Up next
St. Louis hopes rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty can complete four innings when he makes his third start of the spring on Tuesday, against the Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, live on Gameday Audio. Flaherty lines up against right-hander and University of Missouri product Brett Graves. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. CT.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham