Allen Craig is one of the biggest steals in major league baseball.

He has four years left in his five-year, $31 million contract. He gained some security with that deal and the Cardinals bought into his free agency, gaining a measure of cost control

Craig will earn $2.75 million this season, $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. The Cardinals will also have the option of keeping him in 2018 at a cost of $13 million.

He will be 33 years old that season and probably worth every penny of that.

Compare this breakdown to the eight-year, $135 million deal Freddie Freeman just got from the Atlanta Braves. Freeman wasn’t eligible for free agency until 2017. He filed for arbitration for 2014, asking for $5.75 million.

Freeman wasn’t going anywhere. The Braves could have waited another year or two before throwing giant money at him, just to make sure he is worth it.

On the other hand, Freeman is a bargain compared to Joey Votto – whose 11-year, $263 million contract from the Cincinnati Reds is the gold standard for mid-market overpayment.