The Cardinals have locked up their de facto ace long-term. Adam Wainwright signed a four-year contract extension today worth a guaranteed $15 million, with a team option for two more years, effectively penciling him in the rotation through 2013. The potential value of the deal is $36 million. It’s apparent that for the right players, the Cards are willing to spend money. The St. Louis Post Dispatch first broke the story.
Earlier this month, the team renewed Wainwright’s contract when the sides couldn’t come to an agreement on an ’08 salary. Matthew Leach had that story. The new deal will override the renewal ($448,000), giving the pitcher a raise for the coming season.
Here are the specifics:
- $750,000 signing bonus
- $500,000 salary for 2008
- $2.6 million for 2009
- $4.65 million for 2010
- $6.5 for 2011
- $21 million two-year option ($9 million for 2012 and $12 million for 2013)
The new contract buys out all three of his arbitration years, and the option would buy out his first two years of free agency. Earlier this off season, the Cardinals made a similar deal with catcher Yadier Molina. Now, Wainwright and Molina join Albert Pujols (assuming his option) and Chris Carpenter as faces of the franchise, signed through 2011.
It was a smart move by the John Mozeliak and the Cardinals front office. It gives the team control of a young, front-end starter, without hindering their payroll flexibility. Wainwright is having a nice spring, and continues to get better with each start. He’ll pitch tomorrow against the Orioles in Jupiter.