An interesting move on the part of the Cards to lock up a pitcher they already had under contract for another two years.  From the AP :

Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to a five-year contract that guarantees the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner about $65 million.

Carpenter had been signed through 2007 as part of an agreement that called for a $7 million salary next year. The Cardinals exercised his 2008 option at $9 million as part of the new agreement and added guaranteed years for 2009, 2010 and 2011 plus a club option for 2012. If the new option is exercised, the deal would be worth about $77 million.

The above pact may not have any bearing on Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt’s status, as Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes the Rangers are prepared to offer the former a staggering $102 million over 6 years.   I hope reuniting with Ron Washington (and $17 million a year) helps Surfin’ Barry cope with the fact he’d be pitching half of his games at the Modern Launching Pad.  There’s apparently no shortage of cable cash to toss around, as the Dallas Morning News claims Vicente Padilla is close to signing a 4 year deal to stay in Texas worth approximately $40 million.

After Sammy Sosa’s unimpressive interview with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez last night, the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck writes, “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in baseball’s central office quietly puts the word out to the 30 major league franchises that Sosa is not welcome back in the game.”  I suspect something less sinister, perhaps, a conspiracy of common sense.  Still, if Sammy wants to polish his Hall Of Fame credentials with the Newark Bears, I’ll not complain.

The Reds have signed reliever David Weathers to a 2-year, $5 million deal. Tom Glavine’s former caddy told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay the agreement includes incentives if he’s used as a closer, though I don’t know if the Players Association will really accept biscuits as a bonus.

Mike Steffanos has some extra hands toiling at Mike’s Mets, and new addition Chuck Rothman resists the considerable temptation to nominate Wally Matthews for 2006’s Worst Single Sports Column, not when he’s got Bill Price to bash.