With this September playing out for the team like every previous September he’s spent with the Cardinals, Matt Carpenter knows for sure there is something unfamiliar awaiting him at its end that could mean this is his last September with them.

“I don’t want this particular season to be the end of my career, and I certainly do have hopes of continuing to play,” Carpenter said Monday after batting practice at Citi Field before the Cardinals played the New York Mets. “I don’t know what the future holds for me as far as what their plans are, what the plans for me are. I definitely want to play.”

While Yadier Molina has re-signed for 2022 and Adam Wainwright has said he’ll pitch in 2022 — the Cardinals hope with them — the other Cardinal with the longest tenure on the team faces a less certain offseason. Used primarily as a pinch-hitter in the second half of this season, Carpenter, 35, will come well short of plate appearances needed to vest his contract for 2022. The Cardinals will pay the $2 million buyout rather than exercise the $18.5-million option, and he’ll be a free agent.

That potential future does offer motivation in his present role, especially as the Cardinals look to do all he’s known from past seasons.