The Cards have Chris Carpenter to a five-year, $65 million extension.
If that were all there were to the story, this would be a pretty good deal - Carpenter is a great pitcher. But given the leverage the Cardinals had, this is excessive. The Cards had Carpenter signed for $7 million in 2007 and an option for $9 million in 2008. This deal includes those two years. So they're essentially paying $49 million for 2009, 2010, and 2011, plus they get a club option for 2012. That's a lot to pay for a time period that's many years in the future, when Carpenter will be ages 34-36 and might not be nearly as good as he is now.
This could be a good deal if the market spirals out of control and Carpenter continues to be a great pitcher, but I wouldn't bet on both those things happening.